Bide your time

17/3/12: John DeCaro of the Sheffield Steelers make a save from Darryl Lloyd of the Belfast Giants during the Elite League game in Belfast. Picture: Michael Cooper
17/3/12: John DeCaro of the Sheffield Steelers make a save from Darryl Lloyd of the Belfast Giants during the Elite League game in Belfast. Picture: Michael Cooper

The Ice Hockey season finished? Who told you that ...

Gone are the days when it was just 32 weeks long, nowadays it lasts throughout the year as the Steelers machine doesn’t even slow down in the summer months let alone take a break or stop.

Off the ice ownership and management are already in full flow, re-signing sponsors, arranging season ticket sales and putting in place actions and operations that will allow Ryan Finnerty the budget to do his job on the ice.

His plans and preparation for next season are well underway. Finnerty has just returned from Europe after seeing several play-off games but I now feel he will disregard his original target and move on to others both in Europe and North America.

GB International forward Colin Shields has already signed and I think he’ll try and make one or two more quick additions before retreating and biding his time for the final flurry in late summer.

In April and May you are in the hands of the players and you end up paying too much.

You are better waiting for the higher paying jobs in Europe to be filled before making your move and obtaining much better value for money.

One area Finnerty might have to move quickly on is goaltending. Existing goalie John DeCaro has a contract and a University course in Sheffield to return to though rumour has it he has received interest and a huge offer from Norway’s Parta Sarpsborg to take the job occupied by former Cardiff netminder Phil Osaer who, it is said, will return to Wales replacing Stevie Lyle.

Many Steelers fans weren’t impressed with DeCaro, yet Finnerty was a big fan both of his on-ice form and off-ice character.

Better players than DeCaro have left Sheffield before never to be seen again and hardly missed once the new season began. Maybe it’s something DeCaro should perhaps think about before making his decision.

I expect Finnerty to pretty much fill his import line up with new faces as other than Legue and Sarich the Steelers coach won’t be in a rush to offer new contracts to the likes of Ramsay, Fulghum or Duff. He’ll be looking for more dogmatic individuals next season who are counting down the days to winning a championship rather than counting them down to see their families again.

Last weekend I spoke with many coaches at the play off finals. Every one of them is looking for the same thing ... old school characters not frightened or put off by the old school way. Society and hockey have produced many nice people but those aren’t the guys who get you past the finishing line. Rick Brenant, Scott Alison and Dennis Vial weren’t the nicest of fellows you would want to marry your sister but if you were at war in the trenches they’re the guys you want alongside you.

How much do we miss them and the likes of Munn, Lehman and of course Finnerty himself?

Good luck Finner. Recruit a team of men we can all relate to, admire and support. We’re not looking for a church choir, we’re looking for Elite League Champions.