SHEFFIELD, UK – The Sheffield Steelers were today celebrating the signing of rugged stay at home defenceman Drew Fata, which also completed their squad for the upcoming EIHL campaign. Fata joins Steven Goertzen as the latest summer acquisition for the Steelers with NHL experience, as he joins an already impressive side featuring Cory Pecker, Jeff Legue and Rod Sarich. The 29-year-old Canadian was a third round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2001, but didn’t play a game for the NHL giants, he did however get his chance to play in ‘The Show’ when he played for the New York Islanders in 2007. Fata featured in 8 games with the Islanders, being credited with a goal and an assist. Fata also featured in pre season games with the Boston Bruins in 2009.
Fata has extensive experience playing in the ECHL and AHL, with 321 games in the latter league, but in the last two seasons he has ventured into Europe with spells in Norway and Italy.
It was whilst he was playing in Italy that Sheffield Steelers Head Coach Ryan Finnerty became a fan of the 6’1 defenceman. Fata spent last season with Asiago, who were one of the teams that Sheffield played in the Continental Cup, but unfortunately lost to.
Ryan Finnerty spoke about the signing of Fata, “I think he was the best D man in the competition, that’s why we moved so quickly when he became available. He ticks all the boxes for us, big, strong, very tough, and very experienced and just a very good all around D man. I think he compliments the other players we have on the blue line and I really think he is a perfect fit for us”, Finnerty explained.
“We had lots of options in the end but Fata stood out from the rest, we have again signed real quality. I could have gone for a knuckle dragging D man who perhaps fought a little more but what’s the point. This whole team has team toughness, there isn’t one player that will play scared. This Steelers team has size, strength and character and Fata fits the bill on all of those points as well,” Finnerty added.
The addition of Fata to the Steelers defensive corps, adds another strong element to a highly dynamic blue line. The Steelers have three offensive defenceman in Rod Sarich, James Jorgensen, and Danny Meyers, as well as three defensive D-men in Fata, Matt Stephenson and Mark Thomas.
Fata has signed a two-year deal with the Steelers, which will also see him undertake a Masters education package with the University of Sheffield, which was no doubt a big factor in his decision to sign with the South Yorkshire side.
In other news the Steelers have announced that Sheffield Window Centre will become the clubs’ title sponsor. The Sheffield firm sponsored the team last year, but will take over the reigns from previous title sponsor Unison, who now sponsor EPL neighbours the Sheffield Steeldogs.
Steeler’s owner Tony Smith spoke about the latest news, “We are delighted to welcome Sheffield Window Centre back with us and now in this new increased capacity. I think we all recognise the great involvement they have had with the Sheffield Tigers over many years and early indications are that they would welcome a similar arrangement with us here at the Arena,” Smith said.
“I think it’s another great example of how local business have supported the club in the recent past. Sponsors see how hard we work in trying to promote them and their products. It’s nice that they see us a vehicle they can work with in pushing forward their brands,” Smith added.
The first chance to see the new look Sheffield Steelers will be on Saturday 1st of September in a pre-season friendly with the Coventry Blaze.
Contact the author at Scott.firstname.lastname@example.org