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Salem signs on for season 3

We announced last week that Ben Morgan was returning as the Sheffield Steeldogs player/coach for season 2020/21. He confirmed that Greg Wood was also back as part of the coaching team and we can now reveal the identity of the final part of the group, the newly appointed player/assistant coach.

28 year old Nathan Salem has signed on for his third season as a Steeldog. Nathan broke through with the Newcastle Vipers in the Elite League back in 2009 and has played for a number of teams since. The Dogs came up against him playing for Telford, Hull and Peterborough and he was always a tough opponent – and that same style has made him a fan favourite in Sheffield.

He delivered plenty in his first year with the club but a burst appendix put a hole in his 2019/20 campaign - but he still finished with 50 points in 34 games, the best points per game on the team.  He also made every effort to remain part of the team, even when his recovery meant he couldn’t strap on the skates, showing his commitment to the Steeldogs.

Ben explained why he has added Nathan to his coaching set up; “Nathan has had a view, a desire over the last 18 months to do more and pass on his knowledge and experience to younger players, particularly with the forwards. He is the consummate professional, he looks after himself, he’s not someone who goes out and partys etc. He gets out what he puts in and that’s the reason why he has been so successful throughout his career and the reason why every single year he has a number of teams trying to get his signature. We are delighted he has chosen to stay with us, so we want to give him that respect back and give him that player/assistant coach position - and he will be fantastic in the role.

“At the time we lost him to injury last season, he was pulling the team through with points production, and he was a big miss for us. He’s a guy who has always tested himself, season in season out and is a player who gives you numerous options from an attacking point of view. He doesn’t mind playing centre, doesn’t mind playing wing. He’s always open to mixing things up and playing with different players on different lines.

“He is an invaluable member of our squad for next season. He brings a real edge to the team especially in special teams play – him and Duncan Speirs were key contributors to the scoring in the previous campaign, they contributed to around 20 shorthanded goals. He is always looking to push for more on every shift, he is wanting to push both himself and his line mates on also. He is someone who I have been fortunate to call upon in numerous situations, whether it is a 5 on 5, special teams or indeed when it goes to overtime, he is someone you want on the ice, someone I trust a hell of a lot.

“The level of his off-ice preparation automatically commands respect and because he has played at various other quality clubs, he brings a wealth of experience. Whoever we are playing against, he always has something to add about the way a coach likes to play, the setup, the way certain players like to play on special teams or little bits of information about rinks etc, he is open to sharing his experiences and expertise. He will give us hints or tips that will help us as a team get one over on others. As a player and as assistant coach he will be a real asset for us”.

Nathan is looking forward to another season at iceSheffield; “It’s a great organisation and I’ve known Ali for many years and always got on well with him. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here the last two years. It’s a close group, most of the boys have played here or with each other for a long time and it’s something I want to be a part of. I feel very much part of the group, that I have been welcomed 110% in by the boys. I settled in quickly and been happy here ever since. Morgs has been working hard behind the scenes putting together a very competitive team. It will be a good team to play for and potentially stronger than last year, so it’s going to be another good year.”

#91 spoke about the highs and lows of last season;

“I thought the team did really well - maybe not in terms of the league position but based on the injuries we had with guys out for so many weeks, others really stepped up and showed what they could do. We had quite a young team and all those who stepped up did well and showed what the team is about. That’s the most games I’ve ever missed, I don’t think I’d been out for more than 2 or 3 weeks before. While I was sidelined it was good to watch and see other guys develop and take their chance”.

He is also excited to carry on a Salem family tradition,

“I’ve always enjoyed coaching; when I was in Telford I worked with the juniors and I wanted to do more. Becoming the Dogs assistant player/coach was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. Fingers crossed I can be like my dad. He’s a good coach and coached me from under 10s through to under 18s, so hopefully I can be at least half as good as him!”

Welcome back Nathan!

We will have more signing news soon, so keep your eyes peeled for our next announcement.

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Roger Williams

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