Sheffield Steelers: Vojtech Polak signing helps fill large gap left by Brendan Connolly injury

AHEAD of his team’s recent trip to Denmark to contest the Continental Cup, Sheffield Steelers’ head coach Aaron Fox admitted one of his chief priorities was ensuring the three-day event produced no further injury misery.

Sheffield Steelers' forward Brendan Connolly is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Picture courtesy of Dean Woolley/EIHL.

Ultimately, things didn’t go to plan, with pivotal centre Brendan Connolly sustaining a serious knee injury in the opening game of that weekend, one which is now likely to rule him out for the rest of the season.

Fox knows replacing GB international Connolly – who posted 63 points including 28 goals in 61 games during his first season with the club back in 2019-20 – will be a tough task.

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But by bringing in Czech Republic forward Vojtech Polak in time for this weekend’s Elite League clashes against Cardiff Devils and Dundee Stars, Fox believes he has gone some way to filling the sizeable and experienced gap left by Connolly’s enforced absence.

INCOMING: Czech Republic-born forward Vojtech Polak has signed for Sheffield Steelers. Picture supplied by Steelers Media.

Polak joins the Steelers from Romanian side SC Csikszereda where this season he has scored nine goals as part of a 24-point haul from just 18 games.

South Yorkshire will be the latest stop for the much-travelled 36-year-old centre, who has spent time in his native Czech Republic, as well as two years in Finland and three seasons in the KHL.

He was a second round NHL draft pick for the Dallas Stars back in 2003, playing five games in the world’s top league, with the majority of his game time in North America coming with 162 appearances for AHL affiliate Iowa Stars.

“Conns is such a big piece of our group and I know he will be tough to replace,” said Fox, who still hopes to add another new face before the weekend as the future of Anthony DeLuca –suspended by the Steelers having recently failed a drugs test – remains unresolved.

Shefield Steelers' head coach Aaron Fox. Picture courtesy of Dean Woolley/EIHL.

“Vojtech comes to us with a very strong playing career and has put up some great numbers in some of Europe’s best leagues

“He is a true pro and comes to us in great shape, ready to compete. He is a centre who can play wing as well and in all game situations.

“I’m looking forward to getting him in ready for the weekend.”