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  Wednesday, 18 December, 2002, 00:16 GMT
Sheffield to honour Steelers stars
BBC Sport Online's Stuart Hughed

Sheffield Steelers will honour one of the greatest partnerships in British ice hockey history at a special ceremony next month.

Steelers will retire the shirt numbers 9 and 16 - worn by former Sheffield stars Ken Priestlay and Tony Hand - at their challenge match against Dundee Stars on 21 January.

Priestlay joined Sheffield in 1994 and remained with the club until 1999. Priestlay played for Pittsburgh and Buffalo in the NHL and holds two Stanley Cup rings.

Tony Hand is the only British player to have been drafted by the NHL. He played his first senior game for his hometown club, Murrayfield, at the age of 14.

Steelers legend Tony Hand
Hand's number 16 shirt will be retired

He spent four years with Sheffield and later became the first player in British league ice hockey history to score 1,000 goals.

Both players will return to Sheffield Arena to play in next month's challenge match.

Steelers spokesman David Simms said: "As well as being mighty fine hockey players Tony and Kenny are also mighty fine people who were both outstanding ambassadors to the Steelers on and off the ice.

"As part of the 1996 Grand Slam team they brought the club huge glory.

"On January 21 we will ensure that the ceremony before the game with Dundee truly honours these two players.

"Their shirts will then be retired and banners raised to the rafters of the Sheffield Arena for all time."

Meanwhile, Superleague ice hockey is to return to Manchester next month for the first time since the collapse of Manchester Storm.

The Challenge Cup final on Sunday 26 January is being moved from the London Arena to the MEN Arena to accommodate travelling fans from Sheffield and Nottingham.

London Knights will now play Belfast Giants at home instead.

The Ice Hockey Superleague has also decided to offer free tickets to the final to Manchester Storm and Scottish Eagles season ticket holders.

Both clubs folded last month.

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