Sheffield Steelers have been hit by their first ‘injury’ - even before their training camp starts!
Assistant coach Jerry Andersson has had to undergo surgery for a medical issue in his home country of Sweden.
The coach probably won’t be able to join the start of next week’s return to duty, at Sheffield Arena.
Head coach Paul Thompson said: “It looks like he is going to be delayed, which is a shame because we had planned a training camp with him very much involved and it will have to adapted until he gets here. But the important thing is that he has a speedy recovery.”
Thompson told The Star, earlier in the close season, that Andersson had been a valuable contributor to the managing of the side - always willing to listen, advise and challenge, if need be.
Steelers’ first pre-season game is a week on Saturday, against Swedish opposition, Sodertalje, at iceSheffield.
It is a team close to tennis legend Bjorn Borg’s heart - he has played for them.
Thompson said: “I saw him in a game three years ago when I was coaching for Troja-Ljungby. It’s strange but he was a hockey player as well as a tennis star! Sodertalje will be interesting opponents, they don’t have many imports because they have young Swedish players whose level is high.
“The team had been in the third tier but got promoted into second last season and struggled to find consistency.
“They ended up in the relegation round but thanks largely to Jonas Westerling (12 points in 10 games) they stayed up.
“Now Jonas’ first game for us will be against his last team. He can’t wait to play them” said Thompson.
“While Sodertalje struggled, I should point out that it is a very good league, from top to bottom and there is not a lot of difference in quality between all the teams in the Allsvenskan.
“Our fans in Sheffield are going to see some speed, that’s for sure.”
Sodertalje will have agitating forward Stefan Grahns, 35, in their side, a player Thompson coached at Troja.