Nuremburg Ice Tigers head coach Rob Wilson says he hasn’t gone nostalgic ahead of his return to Sheffield Steelers this weekend, but hasn’t ruled it out yet.
The former Steelers D-man is back with his current team in a two-game exhibition weekend where he’ll lock horns with old pal Paul Thompson on the opposite bench.
And Wilson, who played for Steelers between 1994 and 2000, is looking forward to returning to the UK and believes his team are in for a tough test.
“On a personal note, it’ll be nice to come back and I’ll be reminiscing a lot from my days at the Steelers. I haven’t done it yet, but it may happen as the week goes on though,” he said.
“I’ve talked to Thommo quite a bit and the two of us are looking forward to getting our guys on the ice. We’ve got a couple of young guys so I’m keen to see how they do.
“I think the games would be totally different if we were meeting in the Champions Hockey League or something. This is more exhibition stuff, but I know the Steelers will be up for it.
“It’s about coming to have some fun, but they also know they have to come to play or they won’t have much enjoyment on the ice.
“Paul and I talk a lot and for me, it’ll be nice to see everyone around the club that I knew from my days there. I’ll certainly enjoy it and have a few laughs.”
Wilson was also the head coach at Newcastle Vipers when they won the play-offs in 2006, beating the Steelers in that final.
Since then, he’s gone on to have an impressive coaching CV, winning a championship in Italy with Ritton and last season, was named the German DEL’s Coach of the Year.
Despite having moved on from his Elite League days, he keeps a close eye on things and believes ice hockey in the UK is far better than people realise.
He added: “I came over for the play-off final when the Steelers played Cardiff and I thought that game was excellent. It was great entertainment and a good level of hockey.
“It’s difficult because you try to bring in a good calibre of British players while also maintaining a good level of hockey.
“It’s a fine balance, especially when you factor in entertainment for the fans an trying to grow the sport. It’s very difficult, but I think the standard is getting better and better.
“I played in the Super League and that was a good standard, but I always think the UK league never gets the credit it deserves.
“People don’t realise how good it is until they’re there and see for themselves. It’s definitely moving in the right direction and for me, it’s only going to keep on growing.”
Photo: Nuremberg Ice Tigers