Sheffield Steeldogs add Czech Republic duo to perform lead roles in NIHL National

BEN MORGAN believes he has found the ideal import combination after bringing in Czech Republic forwards Vladimir Luka and Jan Danecek.

Sheffield Steeldogs' player-coach, Ben Morgan. Picture courtesy of Peter Best.

Luka, 37, and 33-year-old Danecek both make the switch from Poland's top-flight to South Yorkshire in time for the inaugural NIHL National campaign which begins for the Steeldogs on September 15 when they welcome new Yorkshire rivals Leeds Chiefs to Ice Sheffield.

The Steeldogs have adopted a patient approach in terms of building their roster for the new season, with several slots still left to fill. But one of the most important pieces of the jigsaw seems to have been solved with the signing of the Czech-born duo.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“Vladimir has a lot of experience to share with the team, as you’d imagine," said player-coach Morgan. "We are seeing other teams signing even older guys at the moment.

"As we know we are going to have bags of youth on the roster, we need some older heads and having a couple of more experienced forwards will pay dividends. Jan brings a lot of hockey knowledge to the team, as well as a lot of offence."

Luka has spent the majority of his career bouncing around the Czech leagues, but arrives at Ice Sheffield having spent last season at Zaglebie Sosnowiec where he posted 43 points in 42 games, including 20 goals.

Danecek's career has followed a similar path, playing 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.

Morgan said Luka reminded him of former Sheffield Scimitars favourite Peter Slamiar, who spent three years in South Yorkshire between 2007-10, achieving near legendary status.

"He is that type player," added Morgan. "His touch around the net is great and his ability to open up the play and find himself in a goal-scoring opportunity is similar to ‘Slammy’. From the footage I’ve seen and the information I’ve got from other coaches, he seems like a genuine marksman.

"Jan will be a slightly more aggressive, hard-hitting guy but someone who has really good hands. He has posted good numbers over the past five years and those who have played against him have spoken highly of him.

"He is a play maker but I expect him to be a scoring threat as well and I see him being a bit of a gem for this season.”