DANNY Meyers joined the booming Brit pack at Steelers today still smarting from his sudden exit from arch rivals Nottingham Panthers.
The 29-year-old defenceman signed a two-year contract at Sheffield - a similar agreement he’d been anticipating from the double-winners.
That was withdrawn when the 6ft 2ins skater returned from GB duty - and now he says he owes a debt of gratitude to Steelers for giving him a chance to prove Panthers were wrong in axing him. The six-season Panther said: “I gave everything to that team and my team-mates and, I won’t lie, I was devastated when Corey Neilson (coach) told me I was being released. My entire vision had been to help deliver a league title to that team and suddenly that mission was snatched away.
“The league championship had been my sole priority. There were a lot of emotions but despite how angry I felt I never raised my voice with Corey. I have too much respect for the club.
“Obviously I didn’t agree with his decision. It is hurtful and humiliating to feel that as Captain of the club you aren’t wanted. Suddenly I was the one sacrificed as they came up with a new plan for next year. It was very tough telling my wife I’d been sacked and also my team-mates, many of whom have been very supportive.”
Meyers said Nielson had explained to him that the signing of Coventry Blaze’s Jonathan Weaver was part of the reason behind him being cut.
“While it was a shock I’m moving on. I can’t deny that I am nervous about going to Sheffield after all the years of them being the enemy to me and the other way round. Walking into the changing room is going to feel strange at first.
“But I’m grateful to (owner) Tony Smith and (coach) Ryan Finnerty for this chance and also for the welcome I’ve had from other GB players at Sheffield.
“I want to pay them all back. I am a Sheffield Steeler now and I’d like to prove I am worth extending my two year stay there. This is not a case of me leaving Nottingham for a spell and going back.
“I have always respected the rivalry between the clubs and both sets of fans and I’m excited about getting started. I feel as though I’m in my prime and hope the best years of my career are ahead of me.”
Finnerty said the club had moved quickly “to secure what I believe is the best British D man in the league.”
He added: “We will run with six quality D men next season, we will be more experienced and have more leadership. Danny is a strong and positive personality, he will fit in well. He is coming here to win a league championship, we know a few things about doing that here and hope to teach him our ways. On the flip side it would be nice if he could remind us how to win a Challenge Cup as it has been far too long since we won one of those.”