David Simms Sheffield Steelers ice hockey column: Team harmony is key factor for Coach Aaron Fox

This morning – Thursday – another piece of the Steelers jigsaw was set to be revealed, the swing guy that Aaron Fox has been telling us he wanted.

By David Simms
Thursday, 18 July, 2019, 24:00
Aaron Fox

A player who can play on the top 9 forwards and be available to play on the back end should injuries fall to one of our blueliners.

Aaron’s desire to be able to play 6 D men at all times seems to be a priority and something he set out to achieve from day one.

That would leave the Steelers with just one forward let to sign, most believe this will be a top 6 centre, only time will tell.

There is a good balance I believe to our forward lines, speed, skill, goals and role players. Some league experience, some new guys and some veterans from the big leagues around Europe.

Since the heyday of Roy, Fretter and Forney I always hoped we had enough goals in our locker, this summer I feel confident here in July that we have, and remember, still one top 6 guy to sign.

Who plays with who is anyone’s guess and I certainly don’t care.

That’s Aaron’s job and he will mix and match until he finds the right combination.

I think we all expect Vallerand and Connolly to be paired together but who with, that’s a question.

Tell you on the 17th and 18th August for the first two exhibition games to find the answer on that one.

I just hope Dowdy gets a centre who can dish the puck and find him, if he does then we know we have guaranteed goals from #75.

When building a side, a lot of thought goes into the make-up of the team, obtaining the right balance, for example only 10 guys get to play the PP.

The harmony of the team has to be right.

Aaron will know that as well as anyone, he was a PP guy as a player.

He knows he will need those role players as well, the penalty killers, the grinders. I see the guy we are signing today in one of those roles.

A lot of chatter on goaltending, again, the goaltending situation will see itself out in due course.

As long as we as a club benefit and get the best goaltending duo we can then I will be happy.

This will be a busy couple of weeks ahead, teams will be trying to conclude signings due to the amount of time it takes for the working visa process to take place.

Whilst it is not essential that all players are in situ before training camp starts most clubs will want their full squad by the time game 1 is knocking on the door on the 31st August, for the Steelers that is a home Challenge Cup game.

I like that we are waiting for the last guy, holding out looking for quality.

If we miss a game or two in pre season I can live with that if we are getting a difference maker for the remaining 32 weeks. I believe that the league will make the fixtures available for all early next week, I know our supporters’ club are already well progressed in the planning of two double header weekends away next season, one in Belfast and one in Scotland.

Keep your eyes open for those details once the fixtures are released.

Next Saturday fans will have chance to meet Aaron and some of the players at the Arena – the club are opening the shop for a kit and merchandise sale.

If you fancy buying a used pair of Steelers skates or one of last year’s coats, T shirts or scarves, then we will see you there next Saturday morning.