It’s all change – more ins and outs for Sheffield Steelers

Matt Climie at Sheffield Arena
Matt Climie at Sheffield Arena

Sheffield Steelers' mind-boggling season continues with yet more personnel changes to the squad.

Coach Tom Barrasso surprised the fan base by bringing in 35-year-old import goalie Matt Climie to challenge Jackson Whistle for the starting netminder slot.

Jiri Gula

Jiri Gula

Barrasso recently told The Star he regarded Whistle as one of the strengths on the roster.

But today's move signals the need for competition in the cage - something Barrasso himself had to cope with for years, in the NHL.

It will also push British goalie Brad Day further down the pecking order.

At the same time, Czech defenceman Jiri Gula -a friend of Sheffield Wednesday star Daniel Pudil - has been cut from the roster.

The club said Gula's release was as a result of the returtn of Ben O'Connor to the ranks.

Climie joined the club from Austrian side Innsbruck.

He has played five NHL games with Dallas, Phoenix and Vancouver and 265 AHL games with Iowa, Houston, Texas, San Antonio and Chicago.

He moved to Europe in 2015 playing two years for German DEL side Straubing Tigers. Last season he had spells in Slovakia and Italy before joining Innsbruck.

It will be interesting to see if Barrasso starts him against Coventry Blaze on Wednesday night.

A club spokesman said: "Steelers wish to thank Jiri Gula for his time with the club since joining us this summer. Gula has played in all 15 games to date."

Barrasso has had to move quickly to arrest a run of results which have left Steelers second from bottom of the Elite League. 

Despite his defensive changes, the main problem seems to be attack – the team does not score enough goals.

The ownership of the club has backed every move Barrasso and before him Mark Matheson and Paul Thompson made – despite the associated costs of swapping and changing members of the roster.