Brit pack underpins Sheffield Steelers’ title defence

Jonathan Phillips - a leader for Steelers
Jonathan Phillips - a leader for Steelers

Sheffield Steelers’ British contingent will remain the backbone of the side as they mount their defence of the Elite League title.

Coach Paul Thompson has drafted in seven new imports and the club parted company with long-standing GB man Mark Thomas in the Summer.But the retained list included Ben O’Connor, Rob Dowd, Jonathan Phillips, Jason Hewitt, along with Luke Ferrara and new back-up goalie Brad Day.

Geoff Woolhouse, the goaltender who retired after last season, says that contingent compares favourably with any other in the Elite League.

“The home-grown boys are the backbone, especially those who have been there for years” he says.

“They know what the league is all about and the new guys will come in on top of that solid foundation. Dowdy is powerful on the puck and is able to wheel and skate all night. Jono optimises his speed and he is a leader. Steelers are fortunate to have long standing guys like them and Hewy.

“Then there is Rod Sarich (Canadian-born dual national and former GB d-man) - he always does what is expected of him and is extremely versatile.”