Mark Thomas is getting jokingly badgered into retiring and ‘give youngsters a chance’ on the Sheffield Steelers’ blue line.
But the 601-game defenceman may yet patrol the club’s defensive line next year if he is offered a contract to take him into season 11 with the club.
Thomas, who has a testimonial game against at All Star team of former team-mates a week tonight, chalked up 600 games last Saturday in the 4-2 win over Nottingham Panthers. He would have crowned the game with a relatively rare goal, too, had Panthers goalie Craig Kowalski not stuck out a foot at the last moment. “It was nice to get to 600, I never thought I’d get that far, especially playing for one team” said Thomas.“Some games stand out some where nothing major happens you don’t really remember those. You remember where you made a nice play or scored a goal or something.”
Thomas and his off-ice team have worked hard to arrange players like Jody Lehman Steve Munn, Scott Basiuk and Randy Dagenais to fly over the Atlantic for the reunion game. “I haven’t seen those boys for four or five years now so its going to be great to get them back. Munn is the best defensive defenceman I have played with. It was just the way he played the game, he was smart he could do a bit of everything really.
“I’ve never been emotional as a person but it might be that way. I have got 150 people coming over from Manchester, friends and family.” As for his career, he said: “We’ll see in the summer I guess. I am getting a few chirps to let the kids play, but we’ll see in the summer.”