The 53-year-old is expected to land in the UK in the next couple of days and will be behind the bench for this Saturday’s Elite League encounter at the National Ice Centre against arch-rivals Nottingham Panthers.
Barrasso has made the switch to South Yorkshire for his first taste of UK top-flight hockey from Italian side Asiago of the Alpine League.
Unlike Thompson, who combined both the coach and GM roles, Barrasso will only concentrate on coaching, with other members of the Steelers’ organisation covering the off-ice tasks previously dealt with by their former head coach.
“This has been an extensive search to find the right man,” said Smith. “Ourselves and our agents have scoured the best leagues in world to find the right coach and fit for our hockey club. In Tom Barrasso, we believe we have that man.
“He knows the issues we have at the present time and that he has a big job on his hands. Tom has my assurances that I and the entire club will be here to support and assist him in turning our season around
“Of course, Tom’s resume as a player is very impressive but it’s what we believe he will bring to our organisation as a Head Coach that attracted us to him. I love the fact that despite achieving what he has already done he is still so hungry to come to Sheffield and lead our club.”
His playing career ended with a short stint at St Louis Blues but, four years later, he was back in the NHL returning to Carolina Hurricanes as a goaltending coach where he had played briefly during the 2001-02 season.
After two seasons in that role he stepped up to become assistant coach before a switch to the KHL outfit Metallurg Magnitogorsk to work as No 2 there. Two years later, he returned to his role as a goaltending coach for another KHL team in HC Slovan Bratislava came in 2015, bebut a mid-season move to Italy brought him his first head coach role at Valpellice.
In his first season in charge, Barrasso led his new side to win the Italian league’s cup competition before moving to fellow Alpine league side Asiago in the summer of 2016.