The first rule of being a Sheffield Steeler is a simple one. You don’t let the Nottingham Panthers win the league.
It’s a rule that Steelers player have abided by for some 20 years. As well as keeping true to that rule, the Steelers of the past have also won a fair few championships of their own along the way.
On Sunday the Steelers class of 2012-13 have what could well be their last chance to ensure that Nottingham once again miss out. The Panthers lead the league by four points and look favourites to collect their first league championship since 1956.
It’s the time that no Steelers fan ever wanted to see. It’s the time that no Steelers player should have ever wanted to witness.
The arch enemy, that village team from 40 miles down the road, on the verge of winning the biggest trophy of them all.
Fear not. All is not lost. The Steelers and Panthers meet three more times. There is a lot of damage the Steelers can inflict on Nottingham.
There is harm to be done, points to be taken and still a slight glimpse of glory for our own boys, if not then those from Belfast.
Not one person wants to be a part of the Steelers club that eventually failed in their first task of Panther prevention.
Not an owner, a coach, a player or a fan. Therefore, come Sunday at 5pm at the Arena, these warriors of ours have one last chance to redeem themselves in this the fiercest of rivalries.
A chance to show the courage and conviction of those who went before them and sacrificed all they had.
Whatever it takes on Sunday - great goaltending from DeCaro, great goals from Legue or the guts and never say die attitude of Michel - the Steelers must prevail, must deliver, must drive a nail into the Panthers’ chances of success.
Theirs is a club that has suffered from cracking under the pressure so many times. Yet this season neither Belfast or Sheffield have inflicted that pressure.
Neither Giants or Steelers have really got into Nottingham, challenged them, made them think that they’re in a title race.
If the Panthers are allowed to win this title without real challengers then it will be a damning stain on both the Belfast and Sheffield clubs.
On Sunday it will be our duty, each and every one of us wearing the orange and teal; each one of us with a memory of what beating the Panthers means; each one of us who cares about right and wrong, good and bad.
We are Steelers, they are Panthers. Nothing more needs to be said.
Deliver and make your people proud Steelers; Sheffield and South Yorkshire is counting on you.