New Sheffield Steelers' signing prompts scramble to avoid being odd-one out

The signing of power forward Geoff Walker will mean more competition for places as Sheffield Steelers go into the last 15 games of the Elite League season.

Monday, 6th February 2017, 8:07 am
Updated Monday, 6th February 2017, 8:11 am
Guillaume Desbiens scrapping with Garrett Klotz in Coventry, pic by Scott Wiggins

Sheffield now have one more import than the playing-quota allows, so one overseas player will have to sit out when there are no injuries.

That selection headache is unlikely to be an issue on Wednesday, when Sheffield entertain Fife Flyers at iceSheffield.

The club has several walking wounded and there are question marks particularly over the fitness Guillaume Desbiens, (pictured) an unsung hero in the 8-2 win at Coventry Blaze on Sunday despite starting the day with an upper body injury.

He would probably have been rested last weekend, had Walker been available.

Steelers have been on Walker’s trail for a fortnight and have had to compete with Cardiff Devils for his signature, along with other sides in Austria and Italy.

He was made available by his team Fassa Falcons HC in spite of the fact he was the Alpine League’s top scorer.

Geoff Walker - new Sheffield Steelers signing

That was because the club in Canazei, Italy had not made the end of season play offs and were having to make savings.

Walker fancied a shot at UK hockey - so had to decide between the top-placed team and third-spot Steelers.

Steelers are eight points behind Cardiff but have two games in hand and Sheffield coach Paul Thompson persuaded Walker that, having won the League in the last two seasons, they were still in with a shout of a historic third.

Walker will go straight into the team for the Fife game (7.30pm.)

Geoff Walker - new Sheffield Steelers signing

He knows he is in for a warm welcome, tweeting: “Really excited to join @steelershockey for a title run this season, thanks to the fans for all the love on Twitter.”

The 29-year-old from the Canada’s Prince Edward Island was once a team-mate of former Steeler Drew Fata.