VIDEO: All is well at Sheffield Steelers off the ice - but how about others in the Elite League?
Sheffield Steelers' new deal with the Arena has brought them a sense of stability that has been missing for most of the club's rollercoaster history.
They know they have a home at the facility for at least five more years and with bumper attendances fulfilling expectations, the future is bright....and orange.But that's not the picture across the entire Elite League division.There are rumours percolating about the financial situation surrounding at least one other opposition club.The seemingly-wobbly state of Edinburgh Capitals is an obvious cause of concern.Steelers' owner Tony Smith, who is the EIHL chairman, is aware of the background speculation.While he says he has "never seen the like of the cooperation between SIV and the Steelers before" he knows others aren't having it so good.He thinks owners should concentrate not just on the sport but the all-round entertainment package."I can't give the latest update on Edinburgh right now but things are not great" he said."I would be silly if I said thing were all ok."It is clearly not, they are losing players by the day."The fans are just not turning up."I firmly believe it is what you put on the ice."If you look a few miles away to Dundee they have their biggest crowd of the season, over 2,000 fans turned up."It's what you put out there and the night out you give the fans. They will turn up for ice hockey but you have to put some work into it at the same time."Edinburgh have won four out of 40 games and lost Nikita Kolesnikovs and Pavel Vorobyev to Polish side Cracovia Krakow last week.
It's a recipe for disaster.Smith doesn't take his own club's position for granted.Recalling the time he took over Steelers in 2011, he said: "I remember as if it was yesterday the first game: 1,800 fans turned up, it was a sleeping giant on its knees and we need something very quickly to turn that slide around."Over the past seven years, I think it is fair to say the fans have bought in to what we are trying to do as an organisation. That has made a massive difference."At one point, Steelers were pinning their hopes of a move to a proposed "Yes Project" new facility at Rother Valley - which failed to materialise."It was a very expensive thought, then one day I decided why the hell would we want to build an arena and all the associated costs when we have got the best arena in the country right on our doorstep?"It just needed a little bit of work as partners together to get us where we needed to be."Coach Paul Thompson will be a key part of future operations - he has a contract stretching to the end of next season.Smith said: "He is a great coach doing exactly what I set him on to do. He has moved us to a different level. "We will take it a season at a time. Paul is contracted to the Steelers this season and next and at some point in the future, we will decide between the pair of us where we want to be going forward."