In the words of Peters and Lee, in 1973 I believe: “Welcome home!”
Yes the Steelers are going home this weekend, back to the Sheffield Arena, back to where those great events of the past have happened. That place we call home.
Few greater events have happened at the Arena than the last time we were there. Guillaume Desbiens’ overtime winner against Nottingham Panthers, the goal that took us to the finals and sent our friends back down the road to the golf course.
On Saturday we have another terrific night planned. We’ll raise the 2017 championship banner into the rafters. No other team in the UK can compete with the amount or the quality of the championships won by the Steelers over the last 25 years. Grand Slams, league titles and play off successes.
We are certainly the leaders of the pack and on Saturday the latest addition to the array of championship victories will be hoisted high.
Also, remember Kyle Tomlinson – the Sheffield lad who made the finals of ‘Britain’s Got Talent?’ Well, he will be opening the night’s celebrations off on Saturday. He will also sing the National Anthem prior to the game commencing against Manchester Storm.
So what do we make of our new look team? I have been impressed in the four games so far. Remember, the quality of the opposition has been tough; tougher than what we will face in our own league play.
A real shame for Matt Marquardt picking up an injury in the last minute of Saturday’s game against Nurnberg. Marquardt is someone we had all been looking forward to seeing patrolling up and down the wing at the Arena, we soon will as well.
If Andreas Valdix was the star of the Sodertalje weekend then Colton Fretter was the star last weekend against Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers. Frets showed why he has played at that top level of European hockey. Colton raised the bar as he often does when the opposition is better.
If we are to challenge and win again this year we need him at his best and right now he is showing us that he is right there. Colton isn’t your regular hockey player. No Rah Rah with Frets.
In fact very few smiles with him either.
He is a fierce competition, a highly intelligent man on and off the ice and one of the most well travelled and interesting people you could wish to me.
A dry sense of humour, just a top bloke in fact and one who is vital to us in the eight months ahead.
The kids too impressed once again, not just Liam Kirk who took the summer headlines. Cole Shudra has played four solid games and what about the youngest pup of them all Kieran Brown.
That kid plays with some vigour.
This weekend the Steelers will be without both Marquardt and John Armstrong in the games against Manchester, the pups will get another big weekend of ice time and tally up the minutes. How good is it that we are the club bringing these lads on?
Be there early on Saturday, Banner Raising nights are important to a club’s history. We were all there for the quarter final battle with Nottingham, all there behind Moose in the play off semi final against Belfast and of course on the biggest night of them all, the five period, double overtime night against Cardiff we have never been louder or prouder. So it’s right then on Saturday we all celebrate the championship together. Lets raise the banner!