Sheffield Steelers attract German and Swedish opposition

Rob Wilson and Ervins Mustukovs at the NIC
Rob Wilson and Ervins Mustukovs at the NIC

Coach Rob Wilson - a former captain of Steelers - will return to Sheffield with his top German side, as part of an attractive pre-season for the Play Off champions.

Wilson, an interested observer at the Play Off finals earlier this month, will bring his Nuremberg Ice Tigers to the House of Steel on August 19 and 20.

Tigers finished third in the DEL this last season and made the semi finals of their play off championship.

They will arrive a week after Steelers host the distinguished Swedish side Sodertalje (August 12 and 13.)

“It’s a fantastic start to the season” said Sheffield coach Paul Thompson.

“Rob will enjoy bringing his team to Sheffield. He remains a proud Steelers man. I think everyone who knows him is extremely proud of his achievements first in Italy and then in Germany.”

Wilson said: “I had some fantastic experiences there with Steelers and those days remain some of my fondest.

“I’m looking forward to bringing my team in, the fans of Sheffield will enjoy watching them.

“Both clubs, all the players and the fans will all get something important out of these games.

“We’ve had a terrific season last year and want to build on that. Pre-season is important to us so we will be looking at these games seriously knowing that Thommo and the Steelers will be doing likewise.

“I’m thrilled Steelers’ winning tradition continues, I watched the final, urging the team on when one of my former players Levi Nelson scored that huge goal.”

Thompson is looking forward to pitting his wits against the Swedish team, too.

“In Sweden everyone talks about Sodertalje. They are one of the romantic names in sport over there, a classical side.

“With Jerry Andersson’s contacts we were able to propose the idea of two games over here” he said.

“For us to bring in great clubs like this gives both players and fans a great opportunity to see two of the biggest sides in Europe. We have seen with the CHL games that we can compete at the highest level.”

* Belfast Giants and former Steelers forward Colin Shields says Great Britain have a chance to create some history next week as the country hosts its first men’s World Championship for 25 years.

Belfast’s SSE Arena is the venue for the IIHF Division 1 Group B tournament from 23rd to 29th April, with GB beginning the six-team tournament against Croatia on Sunday (4pm).

They will then face Estonia, Lithuania and Netherlands before going head-to-head with Japan on the last day of the tournament.

“It is going to be a special week that’s for sure,” said Shields. “Hosting a World Championship is something really exciting.

“We know there will be pressure on us to perform, but you dream of moments like this as a sportsman.

“The people of Northern Ireland love their sport and I know they will turn up in their numbers - and I have spoken to lots of people flying over.

“There will be a real buzz around Belfast next week and it is important we feed off that buzz and thrive on it as we push to go one better than previous years.

“We’ve had a good training camp so far and the two games against Poland gave us some excellent match practice.”