Sarich sticks around with Steelers

ROD Sarich admitted he almost had ‘one foot out the door’ before being persuaded to sign up for a seventh season with the Sheffield Steelers.

Disillusioned with being asked to take a pay cut after helping the Steelers win a third regular season Elite League title and once again the owner of a championship medal, there was understandable interest in the talented 30-year-old Canadian defenceman, who said this summer was the closest he had come to continuing his career elsewhere since first arriving in South Yorkshire back in 2005.

Since then he has made almost 300 appearances and it was that, along with the persuasive powers of new player-coach Ryan Finnerty and the decision by co-owner Tony Smith to take over day-to-day control of the Steelers, which contributed to Sarich’s final decision to stick around in a city he has grown to love.

“I had a couple of options and I was extremely close to going with one,” said Sarich. “I basically had one foot out the door until a week or so ago but, with the change in the ownership situation and after weighing everything up I decided it was best to stay here – I do love it here.

“It’s tough when you’ve come off the back of winning a championship in what I felt was a long, hard season and then you’re basically told that you’re going to have to take a pay cut.

“It was kind of disheartening and a bit frustrating really.

“But I like the team that Ryan is putting together and I wouldn’t have signed if I didn’t think we could be in with a shout of winning something again.

“And after the amount of time I have spent here, I feel like one of the senior guys and I like feeling a part of the club.”

Finnerty knew Sarich had other options in Europe – most notably Denmark – but was prepared to wait for a player he regards as “the best offensive d-man in the league.”

He said: “Roddy does things that others can’t do. He is a special talent, a special player and a key to us if we are to succeed again.

“He had asked me for a little time when I initially took over and I gave him that but, all the time I was just hoping he wouldn’t decide to pack his bags and move on.

“For me, Roddy is the best offensive d-man in the league, he is a great powerplay guy and his combination with Jeff Legue is known all over the league.

“It was so important to keep hold of him.”