The best and the worst of fans were on show at Sunday’s Play Off final.
BEST: Steelers fans, who played a tangible part in raising their team’s energy levels at critical times against Cardiff Devils.
WORST: Troublemakers who spat at Sheffield coach Paul Thompson and pelted the bench with coins.
The Elite League may have to look at the positioning of fans above benches at the NIC for future Play Off finals after disgraceful scenes.
Doubtless, the guilty parties will have been few in number. But it needs to be stopped unless the sport gets a reputation it should not deserve.
The spitting and coins came from a section of the NIC mainly populated by Nottingham Panthers fans - but there is no clear suggestion exactly who was behind it.
Asked whether fans had spat at him, Thompson said: “Yeah a few, there were coins thrown at us, it’s a little bit disappointing when you come in and your suit is covered in spit and coins thrown on the bench. They were yesterday (Saturday) as well.
“We picked up the coins on Saturday and Levi (Nelson) took it and bought some sweets for his daughter with it.”
Thompson said he had no idea who was behind it. But he was hugely complimentary towards Steelers fans who roared their team to victory after 94-energy sapping minutes. “They were unbelievable. I have never heard anything like it.
“And to win it for the thousands of fans, some of them sticking around an hour after we won it, tells you everything. This is what we do it for.
“These people pay a lot of money to watch us home and away. They got some stick, and they take it, because good clubs get stick, the minute they stop booing us is when we are not doing anything right.”
Thompson added: “We fell short in the League, but you are not going to win the League every year. That’s the way it is.
“We need to look at what we need to strengthen and what we need to do to mount a serious challenge again next year.”