BEN MORGAN has hailed the growing influence of Sheffield Steeldogs' import forwards Jan Danecek and Vladimir Luka.
Experienced Czech Republic duo Vladimir Luka and Jan Danecek are a third of the way through their first season in English ice hockey, with both proving to have had the desired effect in terms of their on-ice contribution.
So far, Luka, 37, has posted 11 goals and 10 assists in his 17 appearances, with 33-year-old Danecek - often paired with British duo Nathan Salem and Kieran Brown on the Dogs' top line - has registered 10 goals and four assists in the same number of games.
But Steeldogs' player-coach Morgan, whose team hit the road this weekend with Saturday's trip to Swindon Wildcats followed by a visit to Peterborough Phantoms 24 hours later, is as impressed with the impact the two skilled forwards have had off the ice at the club.
"They are two very experienced players," said Morgan. "Luka got off to a bit of a flyer at the start of the season and Jan has come on more over the last few weeks, especially down in London recently when he got a hat-trick - he was instrumental in getting us over the line in that game."
Luka has spent the majority of his career bouncing around the Czech leagues, but arrived at Ice Sheffield having spent last season at Zaglebie Sosnowiec where he posted 43 points in 42 games, including 20 goals.
Danecek played his junior hockey in Trinec before moving to Canada at 18. After time with Victoriaville and Shawinigan he returned home playing mostly for Havirov before spending the past five seasons in Poland at Unia Oswiecim.
"I know people always look to the points because they are imports but I’m not too fussed or worried about individual points tallies because what they bring off the ice in the changing room is just as important as their contributions on the ice," added Morgan.
"Their leadership, their camarederie and the example that they set to the others is second to none. Their work ethic is excellent, they keep things simple and are brilliant at reminding people to keep calm when things might not be going our way and when we're not quite having that puck luck.
"They are two really influential guys and everybody in the team and the club as a whole speaks very highly of them."