VIDEO: Young, big and Canadian...Sheffield Steelers import profile for the coming EIHL season

Paul Thompson has relied entirely on the Canadian market, so far, to fill the import gaps on his Sheffield Steelers roster.

And it appears, with the odd exception, that's what the finished line-up will feature, when the new season starts next month.

Chris Lawrence, big and Canadian...fits the bill

Chris Lawrence, big and Canadian...fits the bill

There are currently 11 Canadian born players on Steeler books, ten of them new additions to last year's roster, with no other overseas personnel, yet recruited.

Last year the team that finished the season empty-handed had three Swedes, two Finns, three Americans and a Latvian.

Thompson indicated that European look was largely over and that north Americans will nail down almost all the import slots.

"I won't deny that, that we've looked to go that way" he said.

He had heard what some criticism of Scandinavian players in the past but added: "Some of our better players over the last few years have been European players."

However his priority had been to form a younger group that was going to bond and he felt that that transition would be more easily achieved with north Americans.

"That doesn't mean that we are not going to add a quality European player into the line up" he added.

The coach said he was still keen on Swedish players but he had to get value in the market.

Now he was more concerned with getting the playing balance right, particularly offensively where he has looked to assemble a strong collection of centremen.

"Without giving anything away, we'd like to build two first lines, that's what we are trying to do.

"I have an idea of a ghost roster of who we are going to put with who.

"Training camp will then sort out where we are.

"We are trying to build a very strong middle this year, (Josh) Pitt is a big lad, (6ft 1ins) Larry (Chris Lawrence; 6ft 4ins) has just come back to us, (Evan) McGrath (6ft) he is not small either and brings a lot of experience and skill set to our line up and hockey IQ.

"We feel we needed a little more hockey IQ through the middle."

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