Delight that puck stops with DeCaro

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Sheffield Steelers are a club with a winning tradition with more League Championships than anyone else in the modern era.

Behind every one of those championships was a common denominator - a great goalie.

When the Steelers won their first championship Wayne Cowley took the art of goaltending to a new level, now John DeCaro is trying to do the same in helping the club win once again.

DeCaro is the latest of a long line of outstanding goalies who, both in performance and character, have led the club to unrivalled success.

In my opinion DeCaro comfortably joins the illustrious netminders who have preceded him. At the recent Legends game Cowley stood and watched DeCaro in his first game against Cardiff and was impressed with what he saw.

“You’ll be OK with him,” he said very early into the first period. “Look at him. He covers so much of the net and he does all the little things right. Even when things aren’t going well he will revert to standard settings, positioning, placement and he doesn’t panic.”

Those words were reassuring and Cowley has certainly been proved right.

DeCaro is, of course, very different to some of the other goalies who have worn the Steelers shirt. At 6’3” he stands above Bronsard (5’7”) and O’Neil (5’8”) and while their styles differ their ability to stop the puck remains constant.

I never bought into the camp that said last year’s championship netminder Ervins Mustukov was the second coming. I don’t know why as the guy set goaltending records that will probably never be broken but I just wondered if he added the all-important ingredients to become a great - character and leadership.

I believe that DeCaro does have all the important tools in his bag. Firstly he’s a great goalie who has already won before which is an important factor when recruiting any player.

He’s also a leader within the team, a quality person, a guy the other players like, warm to and most importantly respect.

The Steelers have built good foundations so far this season.

They are third in the league with games in hand that would see them, if successful, climb to the top. Many have them down as favourites but you can hardly put a piece of paper between Sheffield, Belfast and Nottingham.

However, they do have the hardest run-in of the three, playing six more games than their two rivals including one more in Nottingham and two in Belfast. The games will come thick and fast and they’ll be relying on DeCaro to help get them through.

My view is that he likes that challenge and wants it which is why come the end of March-beginning of April I’m expecting him to stand tall ... a winner, a champion and another great Steelers netminder we all look up to and admire.