Sheffield Steelers ‘sorry’ to University after player quits

Jim Jorgensen, centre, in action
Jim Jorgensen, centre, in action

Sheffield Steelers revealed today they had been “severely embarrassed” by the decision of defenceman James Jorgensen to walk out of the club, mid-way through a two-year deal.

The club stayed supportive to the American defenceman last year, even though his debut season was marred by long-term injury.

But the 27-year old former Braehead Clan skater has signalled that he does not want to return to join Doug Christiansen’s class of 2013-14.

While Steelers can prevent him from joining any other Elite League club they cannot, effectively, stop him from going elsewhere.

The loss of Jorgensen to the club is not in itself a devastating blow. But it is off-ice where the damage is done.

Jorgensen was one of several skaters on a sponsored Sheffield University course. In the last few days, the club has sent manager Mike O’Connor to the University to apologise for Jorgensen pulling out.

A spokesman for the club said: “The player advised us he did not wish to return despite the fact he had originally been awarded a two year deal and was half-way through it.

“He asked to be released and it was clear we wouldn’t be able to keep hold of him as he is free to play outside of this country.

“We are disappointed in several respects, not least of all that we want to protect our excellent relationship with the University of Sheffield.

“Frankly, it is a severely embarrassing position to be in - but not one the club has brought on itself.

“At the end of the day though, if the player doesn’t want to be at Sheffield, at the start of an exciting new era, then we move on and will find players who do.”

Jorgensen, who describes himself on Twitter as an “all around excellent guy” had his campaign ruined by a “slew foot” injury against Nottingham Panthers last November.

It was the worst injury of his career and kept him on the sidelines until March.

In total, he iced 32 games for Sheffield, scoring three goals.

n Steelers’ owner Tony Smith thinks another Sheffield defenceman Chris Frank is also on his way out - possibly to Ryan Finnerty’s Braehead Clan.

“I’d be very surprised if Ryan didn’t go after Chris Frank and Simon Ferguson” he said. “Frank did a good job, he was a tough guy but I don’t think he’d be in Christansen’s top 20.

“There will be other clubs chasing Ferguson, but whether he’d go to Glasgow I don’t know.”

Sheffield Steeldogs EPL skaters will take part in charity roller hockey match to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Manchester Phoenix and Milton Keynes Lightning will also send players to compete in the second edition of the Tony Mettam Memorial Roller Hockey game on Sunday, 4pm, at the ‘Simply Skate Arena’ on the Eastwood Trading Estate, Rotherham.

A similar charity game raised £1,265 for the Royal Hallamshire hospital last year and fans can see the clash for £2.50 on the day.