Tragedy hits Sheffield coach

Doug Christiiansen on the bench
Doug Christiiansen on the bench

Sheffield Steelers coach Doug Christiansen has returned to America following the death of his father, Keith.

His deputy Marc Lefebvre will run the bench if he has not returned to the UK by Saturday, when Sheffield take on Fife Flyers.

Christiansen coached the side to victory last Sunday, not knowing that his dad had died the same day.

The coach said: “I have been truly blessed to have such a wonderful family. My father’s work ethic, values and guidance have helped to shape the man that I am today.

“We have a small yet extremely close family. There are no words to describe what we are going through but we are comforted to know that Marc and the team are heading in the right direction. I will continue to communicate with Marc daily to help the team in anyway that I can.”

His father loved travelling to Africa and his family have set up a charitable fund in his memory through Heifer International, which provides livestock and agricultural training. Donations directly via http://www.heifer.org

Meanwhile, Jonathan Phillips thinks Cardiff Devils’ decision to dump Phil Hill will be Steelers’ gain.

Hill joined Sheffield after his Welsh exit and Phillips said: “Phil will feel that he has a point to prove, he is an unbelievable player, just look at the numbers he has put over the years, he is a 20 goals a year kind of guy. That wont be the same here, our line (with Jason Hewitt) plays a different kind of role. But he is smart, he is physical keeps thing simple and has a good shot; he also finds those little areas where the puck is going to come out from rebounds.

“Phil is the ultimate professional, I have known him since were kids and know how serious he takes working out and nutrition - he’s definitely got a point to prove.”

*Rylan Galiardi has been in talks about a short-term contract with Ryan Finnerty’s injury-hit Braehead Clan.