Elite League rivals will target Sheffield Steelers from the off

Guillaume Desbiens
Guillaume Desbiens

Elite League teams will be lining up to try and knock Sheffield Steelers off their perch, next season.

That’s the view of winger Guillaume Desbiens, who helped the side to their second straight league championship, this year.

Winning a third is a tall order - no other Elite League sides will willingly stand for that.

“We will play with a target on our backs day in and day out, which will be hard” said the Canadian.

“But it’s a great challenge and the reward of winning a third championship in a row makes it worth our while.”

Desbiens said “the usual suspects of Belfast, Nottingham and Cardiff will, again, be our biggest rivals.

“As far as I can tell, we’re the team with the most signings and closest to be complete. It’s too hard to tell if one team has done better than another on paper as you can’t really account for team chemistry by only looking at players on paper.

“Right now there are only names on a sheet of paper.

“I will feel confident about winning the championship after we play together for a while and see how the team gels together.

“Having a lot of the same guys coming back will definitely help though. What I know is that it’s our goal to win again and that the Steelers’ organisation always does what it can to help us achieve that.”

The forward is inspired by the prospect of the club’s appearance in the Champions Hockey League.

“I am very excited to play in the CHL. When we won the championship last season, I think that’s what motivated me the most other than the actual feeling of winning a title.

“It will be where we can help the EIHL earn the respect it deserves” said the player, who had two seasons in Austria with Olimpija Ljubljana and Dornbirner EC.

“I know Salzburg really well having played them many times in the last two seasons.

“They won the Austrian championship the last two seasons so it will be a big challenge to beat them.

“I don’t know much about HV71 (Swedish side) other than they play in the SHL, arguably the second best hockey league in the world.”