Video: Sheffield Steelers’ defencemen promises “no friends on the ice” attitude against old club Belfast Giants

Ryan Martinelli is used to standing in front of 100mph pucks and generally putting his body in harm's way.

But he couldn't help but flinch when a question was posed by The Star.

If league-leading Belfast Giants end up winning the title - will his Summer move to Sheffield Steelers end up being a mistake?"

The 6ft 5ins Canadian dodged the inquiry, preferring instead to focus on how his current side can beat his former one, in back-to-back home games this coming weekend.

Martinelli had two good seasons in Northern Ireland but now sees them top of the EIHL, with four points to spare over reigning champions Cardiff Devils. Giants are on a nine-game winning streak.

The defenceman has no emotional attachment to the Giants, but added: "They have a lot of good players over there. Guys who I have become friends with over the last couple of years.

Ryan Martinelli

Ryan Martinelli

"But out there on the ice for 60 minutes, no one is friends. I ‘m looking forward to it for sure, it is going to be a good contest, they are doing really well.

"Adam Keefe and Steve Thornton really do their due diligence with their recruitment. I didn't know they were going to be as good as they are right now.

“But I knew they were going to put together a squad that was going to be able to win some games.”

He added: “So  kudos to them, they did a great job recruiting."

Giants concede far fewer goals than any EIHL team (40 in 21 games) and Martinelli recognises they have a top goaltender and strong defence.

But sixth-placed Sheffield, now rolling four lines, are on a good run of their own and will continue with Matt Climie, Sunday's man of the match, in goal for the weekend.