Sheffield Steelers: catch us if you can

Robert Dowd celebrtes a goal with Darrell Hay
Robert Dowd celebrtes a goal with Darrell Hay

Rob Dowd has welcomed the growing European influence among the Sheffield Steelers ranks - and believes it will speed up an already fast team.

Last week, goalie Geoff Woolhouse said he thought the influx of new north American imports (and a Swede) would benefit the champions.

And Dowd, who played for a year in Sweden is equally enthusiastic.

“Players who do well in European leagues normally have one thing in common - speed,” he said.

“There are some very fast leagues over there and we may be a lot quicker this coming season.

“We already have players like Jonathan Phillips and Tyler Mosienko who are fast, now we’ll have other great skaters as well.”

The Teesside born forward recalls his time at Troja/Ljungby in 2012-13 with mixed feelings. “It was quite a defensive league, but it had to be - if you made one mistake then you’d concede a goal.

“Everything was a lot more structured than I’d seen before at the club and I think we will be seeing that under Paul Thompson at Sheffield - he is a very hands-on boss who has a lot of systems and works well with players.

“I liked a lot of things about Sweden, but the problem was I lived in a remote town smaller than Billingham. It was 20 minutes by motorway to the nearest grocery store and 45 from a cinema or restaurant.”

That experience doesn’t mean the 27-year-old would never play abroad again, though.

“I’d love to spend another ten years playing in Sheffield and retire here, but hockey can be cruel and you never know what changes are going to happen. My family is settled here, but you can never rule anything out.”