The 27-year-old winger was a key part of the Steelers’ team that ended the club’s 17-year wait for a Challenge Cup trophy in 2020, the triumph over Cardiff Devils in South Wales coming just a few days before the season was ended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Steelers’ fans were reminded of the Canadian’s scoring potency – albeit via their TV and computer screens – when he was brought back by head coach Aaron Fox for the behind-closed-doors Elite Series in Nottingham, where he scored 27 points, including 15 goals in just 16 games.
No trophy was forthcoming on that occasion, however, when the Steelers were beaten 2-0 in the best-of-three games final by Nottingham Panthers.
But, after agreeing to continue his time in South Yorkshire from this September, Eberle is confident the Steelers can avoid similar disappointments.
“I think this year the sky is the limit for us,” said Eberle. “In this league, it is very important to bring back a good group of core guys that have played together for a number of years.
“And I think it has taken us the last two or three years to find that but now we have a good group of core guys, we all know each other, we all know how Foxy wants us to play.
“And if you look at what Cardiff did in the past years, they had the same guys for 2-3 years in a row and they were a great team for those years and I feel like that is kind of where we’re at.”
For Steelers’ boss Fox, getting Eberle to return was one of his top summer priorities, although, to be fair, neither side needed much persuasion.
Eberle’s signing comes just a few hours after fellow forward Anthony DeLuca was confirmed as returning to the team.
The pair proved among the most popular players with fans during the 2019-20 campaign, with Fox clearly delighted to have both back on his bench.
“Getting Tanner back is one of the most important deals we will do this summer,” said Fox. “His game has turned from being an energy guy that plays a physical game and chips in offensively to being a go-to guy that we will expect high-end production from.
“With DeLucs, when he is engaged and on top of his game he can single-handedly win you games.
“This is a big year for him to take the next steps and become a more consistent player and he needs to really dig in on the defensive side of the game.”