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Why Sheffield Steelers must mirror what Belfast Giants did

Flashback:  07/04/2012 of Belfast Giants Robert Dowd (left) battles with Cardiff Devils' Kenton Smith during the Play Off Semi Final match at the Capital FM Arena, Nottingham. Pic: Simon Cooper/PA Wire
Flashback: 07/04/2012 of Belfast Giants Robert Dowd (left) battles with Cardiff Devils' Kenton Smith during the Play Off Semi Final match at the Capital FM Arena, Nottingham. Pic: Simon Cooper/PA Wire

Robert Dowd is hoping history repeats itself, this coming season.

Sheffield Steelers are making wholesale changes to their roster - so their title ambitions will rest hugely on how the new boys fit in with the five skaters kept from last year’s unsuccessful squad.

But Dowd points to his own experience in his year at Belfast Giants in 2011-12.

They too had made significant changes yet ended up pipping Sheffield to the title.

Dowd was top scorer at the club with 32+32, 64 points in 45 games, easily a career high, under Doug Christiansen’s regime.

His displays not only earned him a title but ultimately a lucrative move to Swedish side Troja/Ljungby.

17/3/12: Mark Thomas of the Sheffield Steelers in action against Robert Dowd of the Belfast Giants during the Elite League game in Belfast. Picture: Michael Cooper

17/3/12: Mark Thomas of the Sheffield Steelers in action against Robert Dowd of the Belfast Giants during the Elite League game in Belfast. Picture: Michael Cooper

Dowd, 30, now awaiting a sixth consecutive season with Steelers, said: “Belfast had made a lot of changes that Summer, keeping only a few guys like Craig Peacock and Mark Garside.

“It was a big rebuild but we won the league showing that new players can gel. There was no problem because of the quality and character of the guys.

“They adapted and for me it was refreshing to play with new faces in new systems.

“I’m sure there’ll be the same amount of enthusiasm at Sheffield in the coming season.”

Dowd has lost his regular line mates in Levi Nelson and Andreas Valdix, the latter to a coaching decision, the former to retirement.

“You miss guys for different reasons, but not one more than any other because they all brought different things to the team” he said.

However, Dowd did make one specific reference to Colton Fretter, who has hung up his skates.

“He brought such a lot to the table. He was good five on five and on the power play and will be missed in the room.”

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