Mike is ready for a new era of old-school ice hockey at Sheffield Steelers

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Steelers executive Mike O’Connor believes Paul Thompson’s experience on foreign shores will give the Sheffield team a sharper edge next season.

Former GB coach Thompson learned new tricks running teams in Sweden and Denmark over the last two years.

Mike O'Connor

Mike O'Connor

And with the Elite League so competitive at the top, O’Connor believes that craft will be invaluable.

O’Connor said there was little difference in the annual spend of the top-end teams so it was important that Steelers had an edge if they were to defend their championship and do well in Europe.

Asked what Thompson would bring to the club that wasn’t there last season, O’Connor replied: “I don’t think it’s a case of looking at what we didn’t have last year its a case of what Paul brings to the table. His experience abroad will certainly bring a different approach.”

O’Connor said fans would relish the arrival of new players.

But they would perhaps not see the off-ice preparation, training improvements and culture that Thompson would instal.

They would “take a different approach in how we prepare every week...that’s the kind of flavour we want.”

Thompson has already hinted that he wanted his team to be more forceful offensively.

O’Connor welcomed that, saying: “As a fan I want to see gritty hockey. We all liked the Forney, Roy and Fretters. They all have fantastic offensive skill.

“If we can get some grit in the line up and have a different kind of edge to our game then that has got to be good.”

He said there was a lot happening in the League that is exciting to look forward to. And it doesn’t happen overnight.

“But it is a new start. And whenever you have a new start, things are exciting and there are going to be changes, so we have to embrace this and move on.”

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