Sheffield Steelers’ new kid on the block believes the side has strength of character

Anthony DeLuca
Anthony DeLuca

New boy Anthony DeLuca has seen enough of Steelers in two matches to believe the team has the character required to climb the league table.

And he thinks the points-losses and disappointing scorelines of early season are not indicative of how strong the team can actually be.

DeLuca, 23, from Montreal, made his debut at home in the defeat by Guildford Flames last Saturday, before playing the following night in the big win at Dundee Stars.

After the victory in Scotland, DeLuca said the team had exhibited character.

"We needed a bounce-back game and we had one. It looks like a strong group of guys that is ready to prove that the beginning of season stats were only a fluke.

"We have got a good group of guys with a good staff that knows where they are bringing us” he said.

"The guys and I are buying into what the staff is bringing to the table and that can only be a good thing."

Coach Tom Barrasso believes the former Alaska Aces winger is two weeks behind the rest of the team in terms of fitness, after arriving 17 games into the League season.

DeLuca said he'd have liked to have skated a lot more before coming over here but there was not enough time because of complicated travel plans.

Speaking of his fitness challenge, he said: "I am aware of that and know and want to do extra to get back to where I have to be conditioning-wise."

The forward said he had "struggled to find a secure spot" at any other team before Steelers made him an offer.

He added that he loved the vibe at Sheffield, in his debut.

"The atmosphere was amazing in the Arena, we didn’t feel like we were out of that game at any point and the fans were a big part of that. It is never fun to lose at home but you have to take some positive out of every game and the fact that we showed the character to come back (they were 0-3 down at one point) and make it a good end to the game shows a lot about the type of team we have.

“On a personal level, I don’t think I was my usual self.

"I have never had to deal with something like this (a late contract) in my pro career but you just have to learn from this start of the season and better yourself to make sure it doesn’t happen again."

Barrasso says the player’s strong points are that he is a strong shooter, has good puck possession and is prepared to operate in the “hard areas.”