Sheffield Steelers will bring in Swedish netminder coach to develop new goalie

Jackson Whistle plays for GB v Lithuania in Coventry. Photo by Scott Wiggins
Jackson Whistle plays for GB v Lithuania in Coventry. Photo by Scott Wiggins

Sheffield Steelers will invest in their new goalie’s future by airlifting in specialist training help from overseas.

The occasional guidance and tuition by a Swedish expert is one of the reasons why Jackson Whistle was attracted to a move to Sheffield, from Belfast Giants.

The netminder - son of former Sheffield coach Dave - only turned 23 in June 9 and is eager to learn and develop as he replaces the more experienced Ervins Mustukovs between the Arena pipes.

“There were a few reasons why I made the switch over this upcoming season” he told The Star.

“Speaking with Paul (Thompson, coach) there were some things that made a lot of sense to me.

“One was focused heavily around my development and the opportunity at having a goalie coach from Sweden come out and work with me periodically throughout the year.

“He also spoke about the chance to try and move on to a different league in Europe like Ben O’Connor has just done (Leksands IF, Swedish second tier.)

“I also really liked the way the team operates, their set up, and the goals the team have for the upcoming season.

“I like what they had to say and I think right now for the stage I am at in my career making the switch over was something I had to do” said Whistle, whose brother Brandon, a winger, will also make his debut for the Elite League club on August 11.

“Sheffield is a first class organisation and pulls out all the stops to try and win and that is something I believe in and want to play for.”

Whistle was persuaded to make the move across the Irish Sea soon after the 2017-18 season ended and the Giants ended in a disappointing fifth place.

“I made my decision at the end of the season and it was nice to get to meet the core group of guys on the (Sheffield) team when we were away with Team GB” said the former Kelowna Rockets custodian.

As for the lasting impressions of playing in Northern Ireland for two seasons, Whistle said: “ Some of the major memories for me will definitely be the fan support I had in Belfast.

“They were really great to me and just the reaction they had to us winning the Challenge Cup was incredible.

“Being able to win hardware with Belfast with such a great group of guys will definitely be a huge memory for me.”

Giants beat Cardiff Devils 6-3 in the final in March, Whistle saving 27 shots.

The Irish side also featured Ryan Martinelli, who has also made a move to Sheffield.

Meanwhile, Miika Franssila has joined Hungarian team Dunaújvárosi Acélbikák in the Erste Liga.

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