PAUL THOMPSON has heaped praise on up-and-coming British winger Luke Ferrara, while also handing him a new two-year deal with the defending Elite League champions.
The 21-year-old, from Peterborough, is in his first full season with the South Yorkshire club, having first been introduced to the top-flight by former coach Gerad Adams last year.
He contributed two goals and one assist in 22 games for the Steelers as they snatched the title from the Cardiff Devils, enough to earn him his first full-time deal last summer.
The former Peterborough Phantoms player has not disappointed, his efforts being rewarded with his new deal which will keep him at the club until 2018.
Thompson had no hesitation, having been impressed with the attitude and commitment of Ferrara after being handed more ice time and responsibilities as the season has progressed.
“We want to build our club and we have to look to build the younger guys through,” said Thompson. “And Luke is at the top of that list.
“I can see why Gerad wanted him back last summer, he saw the potential there and I see it as well.
“I see him moving up through the ranks with extra responsibility.
“For British players to break through these days it isn’t easy, not with the amount of imports allowed in this league.
“We have seen that Luke has really come on over the year. Every time he is out there he gets into positions to score goals. His game is becoming more rounded as his fitness and strength improves.”
“He is a great kid, great attitude. Along with Robert Dowd the first on the ice, the last off it and it’s the same with the gym work.
“We are going back to building that core. We have an ageing group of British players here and we are looking to back-fill with some younger guys.
“Luke is going to be a very good player for this club.”