Rob Dowd hopes that his first games back in a Sheffield Steelers’ uniform – the club are looking at planning some pre-season friendly action – will set the club off in the right direction.
The British forward, back for his second spell for the club, is no fan of starting off the season without a proper competitive training camp.
“Somebody in the Steelers’ office mentioned in passing that we were trying to arrange a match or two and I was really pleased as I’d much rather have warm-up games rather than going straight into the season” he said.
“Even a knock-around is better than just training. With the League as it is now, you cannot afford a bad start.
“People think league titles can be lost with a defeat at Nottingham Panthers or Belfast Giants – but if you drop points to lower teams at the start of the year it can cost you.
“The opening weeks of the season are vital, you can’t let teams get a lead on you.”
Dowd, on a two-year deal at Sheffield, comes to the club as Ashley Tait moves out.
While it is not a like-for-like swap, the truth is that Steelers could not afford both players, so Tait was, effectively, sacrificed.
Dowd said: “They are big boots to fill although I don’t regard myself as Ash’s replacement, I see it more of a coincidence that I am on the way in as he is taking a different path.
“We are not similar players, we have different styles and I will have my own role in Sheffield. Ash has had a very successful time at the club and wish him well because he is a fantastic player and a great guy.”
Asked whether he’d like Tait to stay in the Elite League – he has been linked with Braehead Clan, Nottingham and Belfast, Dowd joked: “No – he is too good a player!”
One of the former Steeler team-mates that 24-year-old Dowd is looking forward to reacquainting himself with is Jeff Legue, who has just committed for another season.
“He is a very exciting player. Some people said he didn’t have his best season, last year” said the Teessider, who was playing for Swedish side Troja/Ljungby IF at the time.
“Well he was top scorer for the club and his points were fantastic (60 games: 34 goals, 39 assists 73pts.)
“If that is a bad season, I can’t wait to see him have a good one!”