Ice Hockey: Blaisdell resigns and is linked with Steelers

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The Independent Online
MIKE BLAISDELL is set to become the front-runner for the Sheffield Steelers coaching vacancy after yesterday handing in his resignation at Nottingham Panthers.

Steelers are yet to receive an application from Blaisdell, but his pedigree makes him the ideal candidate following Don McKee's departure 10 days ago. Sheffield have narrowed down their shortlist to three - after receiving more than 30 applications - and are due to make an announcement early next week.

Blaisdell's decision has complicated the situation, while an appointment at Sheffield would rub salt into Panthers' wounds. Captain Jamie Leach took charge of practice yesterday.

It is understood that Blaisdell has several contractual issues to be resolved, but with Panthers bottom of Superleague, a bitterly disappointed Nottingham director, Neil Black, said: "I did not want this to happen. We don't wash dirty linen in public and whatever the outcome of discussions with Mike Blaisdell and his advisors, we must act in the meantime for the good of the club.

"It is true that we are currently in eighth place in the standings of the British Superleague, but it is also true that funds are, and have been, available to boost the squad.

"It is certainly true that we have the ambition to do as well as the club's finances will allow. We have a good squad of players who just three weeks ago recorded one of the club's greatest ever victories when they beat a top Russian outfit in the Continental Cup.

"We must all now look to the future, which I'm sure will be at least as exciting as this great club's past."

The Steelers team manager, Dave Simms, confirmed Blaisdell's application would be as welcome as the others received, before adding: "Our shortlist is three - and that does not include Blaisdell. The three we have so far are all people who are well known in Superleague and would do a good job for Sheffield."