Why does Sheffield take the Steelers for granted?

Mark Thomas celebrates scoring the over-time goal in the Steelers 3-2 victory against the Nottingham Panthers at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, Sunday 20th November 2011.
Mark Thomas celebrates scoring the over-time goal in the Steelers 3-2 victory against the Nottingham Panthers at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, Sunday 20th November 2011.

The Sheffield Steelers are away this weekend in Herning, Denmark for the third round of the International Ice Hockey Federation Continental Cup.

Is this the first time you’ve heard about it? If it is it wouldn’t surprise me. Other than our usual media friends such as this paper and The Star, the wider local media seems to have taken little interest in the Sheffield Steelers, the reigning Elite League champions, crossing the water to represent our sport and our country in this prestigious competition.

Jason Hewitt takes a tumble

Jason Hewitt takes a tumble

Then again why should they when our City takes little interest in much of what we do. Of course coverage of other sporting teams in Sheffield winning league titles year after year and representing their country abroad are endless. Well they must be if we are continually being overlooked.

So why is that Sheffield doesn’t love the Steelers?

Why is it that the city takes this great winning club for granted? Because that’s what it does.

I think Sheffield just thinks that the Steelers will be here, year in, year out winning trophies; selling tickets and exciting the fans.

When the Steelers made noises a few years ago that they were considering a move to Rother Valley there was hell to play ...

You can’t leave Sheffield (for Rotherham) ... Sheffield’s where your home is ... we all love you here ... you’re the most successful sporting club in South Yorkshire.

It all came out.

The collapse of the banking industry meant the collapse of that and so many other similar projects.

The Steelers are firmly back in Sheffield but are they appreciated for what they have brought to the City?

I don’t think so. I never have and it’s got me into hot water before. We play in a fabulous Sheffield-owned building. We try our best to fill it; make it exciting; make it a real home for Sheffield sports fans and if I may say so we do a very good job.

This despite being last in the pecking order for available dates for our events. Last season the Steelers were kicked out of their home at the Motorpoint Arena for the European speed skating championships. A week long event that attracted two men and a dog. Yet that event attracted city funding, media coverage that money couldn’t buy and months later articles being written saying what a huge plus it was to bring such an event to Sheffield and how valuable it was to the area as a whole.

The Steelers, week in and week out, bring thousands of people - 6,000 plus last Sunday for example - to Sheffield. Sure they may not come from around the globe but they come from out of town as over 50 per cent of the season ticket fan base is from outside Sheffield.

You tell me why the Sheffield doesn’t see the Steelers as a great selling tool for their city? Why they are not proud to get behind this great winning ice club?

I helped set them up some 20 years ago and during that time I’ve driven from Birmingham to Sheffield more times than is healthy.

The sporting community should know that the Steelers, their home town club, is the best at what they do, winning trophies year on year, and representing their country in international competition.

Am I missing something or am I expecting too much? Or is it me?