All these new players: But this is the face of Sheffield Steelers

Zack Fitzgerald - Sheffield Steelers man for all seasons
Zack Fitzgerald - Sheffield Steelers man for all seasons
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So the Steelers have now completed their roster for the start of the 2017-18 season.

To many the signing of talented Scott Aarssen was a surprise, but not to those in the game who have long admired not only his skill but his strength and consistency.

So Steelers have reacted to last year’s defeats in games against Cardiff that eventually cost them the league title.

It’s not hard looking at the changes that Paul Thompson has made where he felt that huge series against the Welsh was lost.

Three big changes at the back.

Two big, strong and steady defencemen come into the side, Messrs Matheson and Ronnberg.

Scott Aarssen

Scott Aarssen

Many thought the Steelers would go for another in that style. A big, tough, no nonsense blue liner.

A big man, what we call an American Leaguer. The reality is that we already have one of those, he is called Zack Fitzgerald.

Here is the thing we Fitzy, we all take him for granted.

Because Fitzgerald is the kind of person he is we forget about just how good and effective player he is.

In my mind Zack is first and foremost a great defensive-defencemen.

None better in the play off finals weekend in Nottingham last year.

Secondly he is as tough a man as I have ever met.

A great enforcer who stands up for his team mates more than I have ever seen anyone else in that role ever do.

Thirdly he is just an outstanding human.

The heart he shows on the ice is equalled to that he shows off it in the way he conducts himself as a Steeler and as a man.

That’s why sponsors adore him, kids want to be him and parents enjoy being in his presence.

But if I could take just one of those three assets I take Fitzgerald the player.

I feel safe when he is out there.

I know he is going to dig in and die for me and my hockey club every shift.

Zack has become one of the ‘Amigos’ of the Steelers alongside the likes of Jonathan Phillips, Mathieu Roy, Dowdy and Benny.

He is part of our DNA and we a part of his.

He is the face of our club and he certainly has the heart of our club.

Some will try and mock him like Nottingham and McGrattan tried to last year.

He reacted as I expected by going to a place they were unable to go, helping us win.

That’s the Fitzy I know, love and most importantly admire.

I see these other big boys coming into the league McGrattan, Bordeleau and Eric Neilson and I wouldn’t give you tuppence for them all compared to our big man.

I wouldn’t have traded a bag of sugar for the other three combined.

I couldn’t think of a trade I’d accept for Fitzgerald.

Braehead Clan contact the Steelers three months after letting Fitzy go.

They wanted him back.

They offered any player on their team once they realised what they had lost in the big man leaving. Any player.

The offer wasn’t even considered, the phone call short and sweet.

Now Fitzy is back paired with one of his old Braehead Clan team mates. Scott Aarssen.

The Steelers D that Thompson has recruited in my opinion has a bit of everything, flair, size, mobility, great transition and now a lot more no nonsense defensemen minded first mentality.

At the heart of that back in is the biggest heart of them all.

See you in August Fitzy.