Home Ice: Ice Sheffield, Sheffield
Colours: White, Blue, Grey
League: English Premier League
The Sheffield Steeldogs are the newest side in the English Premier League having been formed in time for the start of the 2010 – 2011 season. However the steel city’s association with the English Premier League dates back to 2002 when the Sheffield Scimitars entered the league playing at the then new Ice Sheffield complex.
The Steeldogs first season in the league got of to a tough start but the mid season signing of the notorious veteran Andre Payette who would go on to become player coach led the team to an 8th place finish and the playoffs. The Steeldogs lost the quarterfinal to the league champions though.
Andre Payette returned to the side of the 2011 – 2012 season as player coach and captured some big names including Pavel Gomenyuk and Greg Wood from the 2011 Champion Manchester Phoenix. Payette as coach brought his hard hitting and often controversially physical play to the rest of the Steeldogs side and their second season saw a great improvement.
The Steeldogs went on to finish third in the league after hinting at a title challenge. A two goal victory of the Basingstoke Bison in their playoff quarter final lead to their first appearance at the playoff finals in Coventry. There the Steeldogs met archrivals the Manchester Phoenix in an epic battle that was decided on penalty shots in favour of the Lancashire outfit. The Steeldogs also reached the EPL cup final but were beaten by league champion Guildford Flames as they did the double.
Andre Payette will once again lead the Steeldogs in 2012 but faces a big challenge to repeat the success of last season. With young goaltender Ben Bowns making the switch to the EIHL and an aging defence it will be a difficult rebuilding process for the still inexperienced coach. However Payette as proved that he can install a confidence in a squad and has been linked to number of big names in the EPL. That suggests that another good season could be on the cards of the Yorkshire side and maybe some silverware.