PAUL THOMPSON spoke of his relief after learning Sheffield Steelers will be entered for the 2017-18 IIHF Continental Cup at the third round stage.
With more than 80 games already scheduled in for the season, head coach Thompson was happy when his team were drawn out to head to Rungsted in Denmark in the middle of November.
I think with the winner proceeding to the Champions Hockey League this whole competition has taken on a new importance with all sides determined to do well.Sheffield Steelers’ head coach, Paul Thompson
The IIHF confirmed on Saturday the groupings that the Steelers will be paired in a tough section alongside hosts, Rungsted Ishockey, together with Belarus side Yunost Minsk and the winners of the Group B second round section containing Poland’s GKS Tychy, HC Donbass from the Ukraine, Narva PSK from Estonia and Latvia’s Riga.
“From a scheduling point of view I am releived we have entered the Continental Cup in the third round,” said Thompson, who has led the club in two Champions Hockey League campaigns over the past two seasons. “Wwe will be playing over 80 games this year so it was important we didnt add another three to that tally.
“The group looks exciting and full of quality. I think with the winner proceeding to the Champions Hockey League this whole competition has taken on a new importance with all sides determined to do well.”
Last year saw Steelers’ arch-rivals Nottingham Panthers become the first British side to win the competition, something Thompson would no doubt like to emulate this time around.
“We are excited by the challenge and are looking to proceed of course,” added Thompson. “We take nothing for granted and respect every one of our opponents. It will be a very competitive and difficult three games for all four teams taking part. It’s what helps make the competition exciting.”