Sheffield Arena’s much-troubled ice surface should be positively Arctic, for Steelers game with Coventry Blaze on Saturday.
The surface has been in dreadful nick so far this season, with players complaining of melted surfaces and holes. At worst, it has been dangerous to play on.
There were rumours that the condition of last weekend’s “rubbish” ice sheet, for the Belfast Giants game, was caused by human error - the temperature apparatus set to hot rather than cold for six hours.
Steelers’ owner Tony Smith said he hadn’t heard such speculation, but said he was confident Arena management had moved on from previous failings.
“It seems that SIV has intervened, somebody high up has taken an interest and I do not think we will have the same situation again” he said. “The building should be very cold - so I am pleased that I can suggest that fans coming to the game should wrap up!”
Smith said the temperature at pad level had been a balmy 21C for the Giants’ game.
“That was the second or third time we’ve had holes and problems, but I would be very, very surprised if we see that situation again.”
Steelers’ form at home has not been consistent in the early stages of the season.
Smith believes the mix of weekend and midweek games has brought fatigue to the team.
“That has been a factor - and we have seen this affecting other clubs. But, I think our team is a work in progress, we have things in place for it to be an exciting side to watch all season.”
He said fans’ feedback to Steeler management always depended on the last result, but added: “We have a long way to go but all our diehard fans seem to agree that we have upgraded from last season.”
Smith also said that players like Mathieu Roy, Colton Fretter and Levi Nelson were all being ‘targeted’ by rival defences after showing their goal prowess in previous campaigns.
Roy, whilst only scoring one goal in seven games, turned in a top performance last Wednesday against Milton Keynes Lighnting.
Smith said: “Mathieu is the type of player who puts his body on the line every night - he goes to the net hoping for a tip-in but knowing he might get a puck in the mouth.
“If he or anyone isn’t scoring, others must step up.”