Manchester Storm coach Ryan Finnerty has joined the chorus of criticism of Sheffield Arena ice - branded dangerous around the edges, by Steelers’ owner Tony Smith.
Finnerty, who retains friendly links with Steelers after his playing days at the House of Steel, regarded the ice sheet near the boards - which had obvious holes in it - as “shocking.”
A meeting is expected tomorrow between club and landlords over the ice and other issues, including large queues of fans outside the Arena who had to wait a long time to get in through too few opened doors.
“I felt for the Steelers and Tony” said Finnerty. “I know how hard they would have worked to fill the Arena for their big banner raising night.
“Once I was sure we could temporary repair the ice so the players’ safety wasn’t in question I of course agreed to delay and play. I have too much respect for Tony and Paul Thompson plus there was 8,000 people who wanted to see us play.
“The ice was shocking though and the staff trying to repair it didn’t have too much of an idea how to put it right. We were lucky it was an exhibition game, if it had been a cup or league fixture it would have been cancelled for sure and that would have caused no ends of problems.
“Steelers were lucky it was me on the other bench on Saturday.”
Smith believes one of the reasons why doors were not open bang on 6pm last Saturday was an issue over non-working ticket-scanning devices.
It all added up to a night of confusion and anger.
Smith did congratulate the Elite League officials in trying circumstances, though.
“Referee Stefan Hogarth handled the matter with great professionalism” said the owner - who will be seeking assurances that Saturday’s Coventry Blaze match will not suffer so many hitches.
John Armstrong (groin) is expected to return foro that, but Matt Marquardt is still feeling the effects of shoulder problems.