New Sheffield Steelers signing will lead from the back

David Phillips GB ice hockey veteran
David Phillips GB ice hockey veteran

Former Sheffield Steelers’ mainstay Mark Thomas believes Davey Phillips is a “perfect” signing for the club.

Thomas, who played 615 times for the club, was a defensive partner of the new signing when they were paired on the blue line for the Great Britain national team.

“Davey has been around the league a long time and he is going to help Steelers” said Thomas.

“He plays a physical game and knows how to win - that is important in Sheffield, where there is an expectation you will win games and collect championships.

“I have never played with him in a league team only the national side - in fact he made his debut when he was 17 or 18 in France and we were partners.

“He has tried his luck in America and so has a lot of experience to fall back on” said Thomas.

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

“He’s had a few fights, but not with the Brits...there’s not that many of us!

“Davey comes to win and is dependable. He might not be an out and out offensive player but he will block shots and is always good in his own end.

“The fans will love his physical side and the fact he plays with a smile on his face.

“He is a solid d-man who will bring a lot to the back end. He will have his work cut out looking after Ben O’Connor though!”

Thomas said coach Paul Thompson won’t have needed to do many background checks on the Hull born d-man.

“Paul has coached him before and knows that he is good in the changing room, he is the perfect guy to have during the ups and downs of a season.

“He was at Belfast Giants a long time and I believe had wanted to go to his home town team of Hull, before last season, but they dropped out of the Elite League and he ended up at Manchester Storm.

“Manchester were lucky to get him, and so are Sheffield he is only 28 so is in his prime.”

Thomas broke his foot blocking a shot before Christmas and while he returned to action with Manchester Phoenix, he has retired from the sport and works full time for his family firm. He expects to be a regular to the House of Steel next season.

The side has lost “core players” like Jason Hewitt and Rod Sarich but says Thomas: “Jono Phillips and Rob Dowd will be at the centre of it now, with Luke Ferrara coming up.

“They may have lost a few guys but Thommo is a good recruiter and you will see that with Davey.”

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