Dave Simms column: Come and have a glimpse at Sheffield Steelers’ future

Levi Nelson in action for Steelers in the CHL. Pic: Dean Woolley
Levi Nelson in action for Steelers in the CHL. Pic: Dean Woolley

On Saturday we will see a glimpse of the future – hopefully. A sign of where we want the Sheffield Steelers to be in years to come.

People have questioned whether teams from the Elite League should participate in the CHL after the Steelers suffered two defeats in Sweden and Austria last week.

Even The Star’s Bob Westerdale questioned the club on social media about the relative value of the home element of the series after Red Bull Salzburg beat us 8-1.

What we will see when both HV71 and Salzburg visit is a vision of where we all want the Steelers to reach, and eventually surpass. Steelers are testing themselves against players of incredible ability and clubs of great history and structure.

The Red Bull club that gave us a bloody nose and an education last Saturday has a salary spend of six times what we have here in Sheffield.

HV71 (who beat Steelers 5-3) have been producing internationals and NHL stars throughout their 45 year history. They presently have 900 kids a week train at their four pad facility as they search for the next superstar.

The people of Sheffield should not shy away from this game on Saturday, they should cancel all appointments and come and watch how good it can be. How we are aspiring to make Steelers of the future.

Remember when we thought the Continental Cup in Holland, France and Denmark was fantastic but out of our reach? Now we beat the Danes comfortably, as shown two weeks ago against Aalborg. We don’t want to test ourselves against French or Dutch teams. We want the big boys; the Swedes, the Finns, the Austrians.

We want to see the NHL, KHL and SHL players.

Yes, everyone involved with the Steelers last Saturday was gutted after the game. But honestly, it was on the cards. After a week and two days on the ice we gave everything we had against HV71 – a team that had been together for two months.

The next day we travelled for 11 hours to meet a Red Bull side licking their lips to face us. We didn’t play our best and were taught a lesson. We learn from it. We get better, we move on.

On Saturday I can’t wait to see HV’s super stars, speed and skill. We will be better. They will have travelled, we will be waiting. We are another week prepared and smarter.

I’m proud that it’s us, that it’s the Steelers representing the UK in this competition as champions.

I want it to be my team being tested, yes maybe being shown up from time to time but without knowing the standard we are trying to reach how can we get there? How can we emulate the Frolundas, the JYPs, the HVs and the Salzburgs? One day, can we beat them?

That day, folks, could be on Saturday. I can’t wait for Champions Hockey League action. To see the best and to see my team play against them. I’ll be there, I’ll be cheering loud and proud and I hope you will be too.

If Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United or Rotherham had the chance to play Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich would you stay away from that game?

No, you would want to see the stars, see their ability and see how you boys battled and fought against them. Just like I do on Saturday when our Steelers play HV71.

See you there, don’t be late.