Sheffield Steelers owner reveals his thoughts on the flood of new imports

Mark Matheson leads the imports into a new era
Mark Matheson leads the imports into a new era

Sheffield Steelers’ owner Tony Smith feels some of the team’s misfiring stars probably should have moved on last year, rather than play a final season with the club.

Coach Paul Thompson is overseeing an almost complete transformation of import players ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.

And part of that process could have started earlier, in the owner’s view.

The current turnaround in players was “good for Sheffield” he said.

“We’d probably got to the end of a four-year cycle and maybe one of two players were kept a year too long.

“It’s time for a freshen-up and the fans will be excited about that.

“There were probably going to be two or three (imports) coming back, but then with retirements it was just one (Mark Matheson.)

“Now we have got all these new imports and I’m excited about that and will hopefully put more bums on seats.”

He said that Steelers had a good defence last year, conceding fewer than anyone else.

But “we didn’t get it right up front. We weren’t firing on all cylinders.

“Now Paul’s started (hiring) on the fourth line, adding to the third and second and is tying up the first line, he’s done a great job recruiting.”

Smith said coaches keep title winning teams together when they can, but after last season’s trophy-free season there was “nothing wrong with freshening it up.

“We’ll have to wait and see what sort of style we play with, I am open to various types of hockey, but a winning style is what we really need.”

Smith added: “Will there be more fighting? probably not. More flair - I don’t know, we will see.”

Smith said the club would miss the charisma of Zack Fitzgerald and the veteran contributions of Colton Fretter and Mathieu Roy.

“But time moves on and we are going in a different way” he said.

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