Luke Ferrara sent through exit door as Sheffield Steelers put faith in youngsters

HEADING OUT: Luke Ferrara has been released by Sheffield Steelers' Picture: Dean Woolley.
HEADING OUT: Luke Ferrara has been released by Sheffield Steelers' Picture: Dean Woolley.
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LUKE FERRARA’S destination may yet be unknown but Sheffield Steelers’ head coach Paul Thompson admits letting the forward go was “one of the hardest decisions” in his career.

The 23-year-old winger has proved a valuable asset to the club since making the switch full-time midway through the 2014-15 season from the Peterborough Phantoms.

ONE FOR THE FUTURE: Sheffield Steelers' Liam Kirk. Picture: Dean Woolley.

ONE FOR THE FUTURE: Sheffield Steelers' Liam Kirk. Picture: Dean Woolley.

In total he made more than 150 appearances for the South Yorkshire club, scoring 30 points, including 13 goals.

Ferrara just missed out on a place in the Great Britain squad which last week won gold and promotion to Division 1B of the World Championships and it’s unlikely it will take him too long to find another club in the Elite League – particularly given the arrival of two new teams in the shape of Guildford Flames and Milton Keynes Lightning.

“It’s not a conversation I looked forward to or enjoyed,” said Steelers’ head coach Thompson. “I am however paid to be the general manager and head coach of this club and sometimes very difficult decisions like this have to be made.”

As a result of Ferrara’s exit, the club’s two apprentices – Liam Kirk and Cole Shudra – will next season become full-time members of the roster.

“I am however paid to be the general manager and head coach of this club and sometimes very difficult decisions like this have to be made.”

Sheffield Steelers’ head coach, Paul Thompson.

Last season they also played for the Steel City’s second tier club, Sheffield Steeldogs.

But given the effective break-up of the English Premier League – brought about partly by the exit of Guildford and Milton Keynes – the Ice Sheffield-based club are now expected to drop down to the NIHL.

Given the drop in standard, it’s unlikely Thompson would have wanted his two youngsters to play at that level.