Sheffield Steelers will face Big Boris the Bear!

Flashback: Sheffield Steelers v Coventry Blaze in January. Jeff Legue is surrounded by happy team-mates

Flashback: Sheffield Steelers v Coventry Blaze in January. Jeff Legue is surrounded by happy team-mates

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Sheffield Steelers were one of the suitors on the trail of former NHL enforcer Boris Valabik, who has signed for Coventry Blaze.

Paul Thompson made inquiries about the 6ft 7ins Slovakian weeks ago.

At that time, the ex Atlanta Thrashers blueliner was holding out for a deal in Austria or Sweden.

With training camp looming on August 10, Thompson couldn’t afford to wait for the ‘Big Bear’ and spent his budget elsewhere.

No deal arrived for Valabik, who is described as a “fearsome fighter” by Blaze Director of Hockey, James Pease.

“He has had a fantastic career so far and is looking forward to making a big impact with the Blaze.

“He’s represented his country at the highest level, been a first round draft pick, played 80 games in the NHL, fought the biggest and the best and won a Calder Cup so we are absolutely delighted to have been able to bring a player of his pedigree to Coventry.

“He is a real character and the Blaze fans are going to love him.”

It should be an interesting spectacle if he locks horns with Sheffield’s new enforcer Zack Fitzgerald.

Meanwhile Steeler Jeff Legue should be in great shape when Sheffield’s pre-season camp starts.

He says: “Thommo has made it abundantly clear that players have to return fit and ready.

“I think I am probably in the best shape of my life, I have never worked harder in the gym in a Summer. I have been doing things I haven’t done before .”

Legue says he made a mistake of training with captain Jonathan Phillips: “Jono is a machine!”

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