The Sheffield Steelers, champions of the British Elite League, are set to face off against the Solihull Barons next month in aid of skipper Rob Eley’s 19 for 19 charity campaign. Rob, from Solihull, will be hanging up his skates at the end of the 2015-16 season and to mark his contribution to the team over his illustrious career the Barons granted him a much-deserved testimonial year.
Rob is using the year to try and raise £19,000 for Ward 19 at Heartlands Hospital, the cancer unit which has treated his wife Catherine in recent months. He is holding a number of fundraising events throughout the year but has now secured the biggest yet after organising a one-off charity match against the country’s top ice hockey team at the Silver Blades Ice Rink in Solihull.
Rob said: “I’m over the moon the Sheffield Steelers want to come down to Solihull for a special match on December 2. To have the British champions coming here is more than I could have asked for. It will be a special night, particularly with all the connections between the two clubs.”
Rob played under Steelers head coach Paul Thompson when he was coach of Coventry Blaze, while Barons coach Perry Doyle is a former Steelers man himself. The links don’t end there with a long history between the two sides with the Steelers being formed from the spine of the then Solihull side in 1991 by Sky Sports ice hockey commentator David Simms, among others.
Rob added: “As well as the game, the Steelers have donated a set of team shirts to be auctioned off and the Silver Blades Ice Rink has been brilliant in supporting the game and helping us raise even more money for the 19 for 19 appeal. To have that backing from people is just fantastic.”
He said: “There aren’t too many hockey players that would give up their testimonial year for charity. Rob was a quality young man when he played for me and you can see that he still is. His actions and efforts for this charity push have already been amazing and humbling. I think this is the very least the Steelers and our sport can do back for him in return.”
Solihull Barons against Sheffield Steelers takes place on Wednesday 2 December at 7.30pm at the Silver Blades Ice Rink in Solihull. Tickets for the game can only be purchased on the door priced at £10 for adults, children and concessions £5 and family tickets (two adults and up to four children) £30.
For more information about this campaign and a full calendar of events for Rob Eley’s testimonial year, please visit www.heartofenglandcharity.org.uk/19for19. To keep up to date with the campaign you can do so via the Facebook page www.facebook.com/19for19 and also by following @19for19 on twitter.