Sheffield Steelers: captain’s armband is up for grabs

Jonathan Phillips; Steelers' Mr Dependable
Jonathan Phillips; Steelers' Mr Dependable

Jonathan Phillips may have to wait until next month to find out whether he will retain the captaincy of Sheffield Steelers.

Coach Paul Thompson wants to assess potential candidates for the role and will wait until the Champions Hockey Legue tournament is over.

Phillips has always been a team player - and didn’t complain when Doug Christiansen chose Steve Goertzen ahead of him in the 2013-14.

Gerad Adams restored him for last season saying the Welshman “knows what it takes to be successful here in Sheffield and has a proven record as a leader.”

Thompson has a number of alternatives, but is certainly not overlooking the claims of a man who was first installed as captain eight years ago.

“Jonathan Phillips is in the running orcourse but Darrell Hay (assistant coach) and I have talked about this and we want to maybe mix it around in games and see what leadership there is” said Thompson.

Asked if Mathieu Roy, a captain for three campaigns at Florida Everblades, would be a contender he said: “He is very inportant player, our top dog last year, he brings everything.”

Thompson said the club has been evaluatating the players’ strength and conditioning with a series of tests on “various parts of their anatomy.

“There have been no nasty surprises. I look at the team as a whole and I am very very happy with it, everybody has prepared themselves over the Summer.

“Myself and Dan Mawer (fitness coach) are pleased with the shape the guys came in.

“It seems everybody stepped it up a little bit and a little bit earlier.The guys who have played in north American don’t normally start until September so it has been a shorter Summer from their point of view.

“We have to work on integrating the systems and get our timing right.

“In the last two years I have been used to eight weeks of training now we are down to five on-ice sessions before tonight’s Braehead game (7pm.)”

Steelers host Clan at iceSheffield this evening.

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