Versatility of Eric Meland big bonus for Sheffield Steelers

SHEFFIELD STEELERS’ head coach Aaron Fox believes the signing of utility player Eric Meland will allow him to get ‘creative’ with his line-up.

Sheffield Arena. Picture: Dean Woolley

The 29-year-old American arrives having spent last season playing for Hungarian side Fehervar AV19 in the EBEL, the same league where Fox was sporting director and, latterly, coach of Medvescak Zagreb.

Meland’s ability to play ias both a defenceman and a forward was something that clearly appeals to Fox.

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“Eric is that swing guy I have been targetting,” said Fox. “We can have some creativity with our line-up this way.

“We can use Eric in a top six ‘D’ role when we have any injuries back there and a top-nine role up front when we’re fully healthy on the back end.

“He really liked the idea of being slotted in different spots and will bring some energy to our line-up.”

Meland turned professional in 2013 after studying at Princetown University in the NCAA, immediately moving overseas to join HC Banska in Slovakia. The following season saw a return to North America with spells in the East Coast League for Missouri and Wichita.

In 2015 a move to Norway followed and a season spent in Lillehammer, while 2016/17 was split between spells with Rungsted Seier Capital in Denmark before heading back to Slovakia with HK Nitra.

Germany beckoned in 2017-18 with a move to DEL 2 outfit EC Bad Nauheim before joining Fehervar

“I’m as excited as I have been in a long time,” said Meland. “This summer I was looking at the landscape of options available and it looked like either a move back to Scandinavia or the UK.

“Once I spoke with Aaron and he explained what he was trying to achieve in Sheffield I gravitated towards a move to the Steelers. Aaron explained the pieces he had put in place and I liked the role he had for me.”