Ice hockey: Dodds retakes reins at Steelers

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The Independent Online
GEORGE DODDS yesterday regained control of the Sheffield Steelers, the unsettled Sekonda Superleague club, from the World Indoor Soccer League.

The WISL, headed by Terry Smith, the European Conference president, took over the impoverished side just 10 days ago after prolonged negotiations. Smith was threatening a radical financial shake-up of the Steelers in an attempt to get them back in the black after years of struggling against mounting debts.

Smith, however, was facing strike action by the players because one of the measures suggested was renegotiated contracts with substantial pay- cuts.

In a meeting on Saturday, the 21-man squad overwhelmingly voted against Smith's proposals, with the 4-0 home defeat of Nottingham Panthers 24 hours later potentially being the last match the team would play.

Further stringent cutbacks were also in the pipeline throughout the entire Steelers franchise, leading to a series of meetings over the last few days. Following the talks, which concluded yesterday afternoon, Smith and the WISL are no longer the owners of the Sheffield Steelers franchise.

Control has again reverted to the Spanish-based millionaire and long- time benefactor Dodds, who retained a directorship of the club when the WISL took charge.

Dave Simms, the Steelers' team manager, said: "I can confirm that George Dodds again has 100 per cent ownership of the Sheffield Steelers."

Further meetings are planned over the next few days as Dodds and his directors, along with the coach, Don McKee, and the players, aim to safeguard the club's future.