Esders’s summer switch paying off

ICE HOCKEY: Lee Esders may have surprised a few people with his summer switch to Sheffield Steelers, but he is proving a hit with his new employers.

The 23-year-old winger had spent the previous four seasons with hometown club Hull Stingrays but was one of a number of British players to leave as player-coach Sylvain Cloutier made wholesale changes.

Esders did enough to earn a deal with the defending Elite League champions and, with a month of the season gone, has made a noticeable impression.

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Tonight sees him face his former club for a second time this season, having returned from East Yorkshire last month on the back of a 6-2 victory. Hull picked up their first league win of the season last weekend after five straight losses and Esders knows they will prove a tough obstacle.

“Coming into the Steelers I knew it was going to be tough to get ice time, but I’m pleased with the way things are going,” he said. “Under Clouts you’re always going to get a hard-working team. He’s a born winner and he’s the right guy to turn them around and to get the right results.”

Steelers stay in Sheffield on Sunday to welcome Fife Flyers (5pm), while Hull return home to welcome Nottingham Panthers in the Challenge Cup (6pm).

n Stingrays’ Derek Campbell: We have nothing to fear: