Frank can be in a class of his own...

John Decaro's spot in goal goes to Frank Doyle
John Decaro's spot in goal goes to Frank Doyle

Doug Christiansen’s chances of becoming Head Boy in the Elite League class of 2013-14 improved dramatically today - thanks to the University of Sheffield.

The Sheffield Steelers coach called on the club’s educational partners to help them tempt 32-year-old goalie Frank Doyle, to sign a two year deal.

The Canadian had originally been bound for Cardiff Devils.

But Devils’s own, similar arrangement with their local university fell through and Doyle immediately snapped up an offer instead to see him at Sheffield University Management School for his MBA, while also playing for Steelers.

Christiansen admits it was the Uni rather than the Steelers than attracted Doyle, an 11 season pro.

“The primary reason he is in Sheffield is because of his desire to attend Sheffield University Management School” he said.

“The Management School has moved into a brand new building on campus and Frank will be in the first class to graduate from the new building.

“Of course, on the ice we have high expectations. Frank is a star player. He is big and covers the net well.

“The last three seasons he has played in Italy where he has been on a team towards the bottom of the standings. He has been a very busy goalie the last three years. He is excited about being a key piece on a championship contending team. Frank Doyle will be one of the top goalies in the EIHL, if not the top”

Ian Proctor, Head of External Relations at Sheffield University Management School, said: “We are delighted with the Steelers’ signing of Doyle.

“He will be a vital member of the 2013/14 team and we are confident that he will also be a strong asset for the university’s MBA programme.

“Frank has shown a great dedication to the game, having been a key player in a number of North American and European teams. We look forward to welcoming him to Sheffield and our world-leading academic facilities, as well as cheering him on at the Arena.”

Doyle is relishing the opportunity to play in the UK. He said: “It was a shame what happened with Cardiff, but we settled amicably and both sides moved on. I’m sure we both wish each other well. Strangely when I first looked at the UK I didn’t speak with Doug Christiansen, but once the Cardiff deal fell through we spoke and quickly realised we could strike a deal

“I’m looking forward to the British game, I understand it’s a lot more North American (style) which I like. I want to win and Sheffield has a tradition of doing that, I hope I can be part of a new winning sequence. As for me, I am a stand up goalie. I spent a lot of my time in the New Jersey system where they taught to you to stand up and work on your skating. I’m calm in the net but I’m vocal to my d men, I think communication is important both ways.”

Doyle turned professional in 2004 after graduating from the University of Maine. His 52 appearances in Idaho in the ECHL impressed and earned a call up to the American League side Utah.