Photoshoot: Steel city warms to its ice warriors

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The Independent Online
When it comes to American-style razzmatazz, few do it better in Britain than the Sheffield Steelers. The Superleague ice hockey team have been one of the great successes of the sport in this country and have rapidly developed substantial support in the Yorkshire city.

Cheerleaders, music, noise and colour are all key parts of the Steelers experience. The fans clearly enjoy it and over the years the players have repaid the supporters' faith with considerable success on the ice. This season, however, the Steelers have had their problems. The club are up for sale and their sixth place in the Superleague is disappointing by their own high standards.

Where the Steelers have been hoping to maintain their dominance is in the play-offs. The Steelers have reigned in the end-of-season competition since 1994.

In their opening play-offs match last weekend the Steelers lost 4-3 to Newcastle Cobras but in Sunday's match - pictured here - against Nottingham Panthers they showed they can still reach the heights. Despite being 2- 0 down at the end of the second period, the Steelers recovered to win 3-2. The winning goal came in overtime.

Copies of these photographs - and any others by the Independent's sports photographers David Ashdown, Peter Jay and Robert Hallam - can be ordered by telephoning 0171-293-2534.