Video: Ice cool Sheffield Steelers' coach prepared for the pressure of chasing an EIHL league title

Sheffield Steelers fans won't want to witness a third year without a league title - no matter how competitive the Elite League has become.

Head coach Paul Thompson recognises the pressure will be mounting for them to become champions.

But he is too experienced and worldly-wise to let it get to him on a personal level.

"I don't feel pressure that you know: 'Oh my God if we don't win...this is going to happen.' We all know what happens in sport. I am in a big club, a club that expects to win" he says.

Reigning champions Cardiff Devils had come on strong in recent years and Nottingham Panthers now have a new coach and a fresh focus, he said.

"Do we want to win the league? 100 percent. Are we building a team to win that league? 100 percent.

Paul Thompson at Steelers HQ

Paul Thompson at Steelers HQ

"But I can't sit there and worry about if it does or it doesn't happen. Cardiff have been THE team over the last couple of years. We want to get back to being that.

"But this is not going to happen overnight. I am not saying this to protect my job.

"I am too long in the tooth for that."

Thompson is presiding over a major personnel change on the ice, with 18 players off the roster from the last Steeler squad, just six returning.

Thommo looks forward with optimism

Thommo looks forward with optimism

He accepts that kind of revolution: "is not without its risks. If you look at Cardiff, Cardiff's success has come on the back of them having a group for a couple or three years now.

"Our (previous) success came off the back of a solid core and a group over a number of years."

However, said Thompson: "We felt it was time to shake the bag. Bring in a new core, bring in a different identity, hand out different responsibilities. I am not fearing it, I am excited by it.

"The players that are coming back we know are good people.

"We have great leadership in Jonno and Dowdy and Matheson. It is exciting. We have got three big signings to go and we won't get away from the strategy of being very patient, like we have been all year, to get the right guys for us.

"We have got a really long, hard, intense training camp, where we are going to have 16 new players so we have to get our system, our timing, our plays, our feelings, our brotherhood, our commitment together and that period of three or four weeks is huge for us."

There were some players from the squad of 2017-18 the management had not wanted to leave but the team was now recruiting others who wouldn't have come to this league a few years ago.

The EIHL had developed into an attractive proposition, he said.