Sheffield Steelers’ boss Aaron Fox confident over recruitment despite further delay to 2020-21 Elite League season

SHEFFIELD STEELERS’ head coach Aaron Fox remains confident over recruitment for next season despite seeing the proposed start date for the Elite League’s 2020-21 campaign put back until early December.

EIHL bosses outlined their roadmap for a return to playing top-flight hockey on Tuesday night.

The league intend to start the campaign on December 5-6 with a new Magic 5 Weekend format staged at Nottingham’s National Ice Centre, with the regular season concluding on May 1-2 and the playoff final weekend two weeks later.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Any start date for the sport will, like everything else in the new Covid-19 world, be dependent on complying with the latest guidance from the UK Government and devolved administrations.

Sheffield Steelers' head coach, Aaron Fox. Picture: Dean Woolley.

Fox already has 14 roster spots filled for next season, having announced 11 names on a hectic day of signing activity two weeks ago.

The majority of players are returning from last season, with British-born defenceman Sam Jones the only new face so far.

The latest delay to the new season – EIHL bosses had originally hoped for an early October start date – is far from ideal, admits Fox, but he welcomed the clarity.

“It definitely helps having a game plan moving forward,” said Fox. “You still need some other stuff to go our way to be able to fulfil that. But it’s nice to have an idea, framework done and a path forward for sure.

Sheffield Arena is unlikely to see any hockey until early December at the earliest. Picture: Dean Woolley

“In terms of recruitment, it helps in the sense that when I’m talking to agents and players, they have an idea when they would have to get over and how long the season is going to be – the kind of variables that I wasn’t really able to give anyone before.

“We have a good group coming back and I know that I’ve got some holes to fill but I’m very confident that we will get that side of things right.

“The framework that has been put in place will hopefully come to fruition.

“But, as of right now, the safest way forward is to put it back to December and hope we can continue to stay on the right side of this.”

Sheffield Steelers celebrate their 2019-20 Challenge Cup success.

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.

Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson

Editor