Rob Dowd emphatically denies that the core of the Sheffield Steelers team has departed over the Summer.
The number of outgoing players has gone into double-figures from last year’s side, yet Dowd says the remaining British contingent is most central asset to the character of the club.
Dowd - who hopes to see winger Jonathan Phillips re-established as captain - admits there are “a lot of big shoes to fill, a lot of big characters in the room and on the ice have gone.”
But he stated said: “If you asked me who the core of the team was I’d say Jonathan Phillips, Jason Hewitt, Mark Thomas. They have been there 9-10 years that’s your core guys, great guys to be around. There is a reason why club brings them back every year!”
Dowd, talking on video at thestar.co.uk, acknowledged the absence of outgoing players like Steve Goertzen, the Play Off winning skipper who has gone to Coventry Blaze, Danny Meyers, Jeff Legue and Drew Fata, signalled a significant task in terms of re-building.
But he’d like to see Phillips re-instored as skipper to help that process, on the ice.
“Before ‘Geortz’ was elected captain, Jonathan Phillips was captain for many years” said the Teesside forward.
“I think it is a tough loss to lose Geortz, but I think easy decision for ‘G’ (coach Gerad Adams) to appoint a new captain - Jonathan Phillips! He has captained the team to a number of championships already.”
Adams has Phillips in mind as a potential captain - although he would be rash to make the decision now, as he has so many new import players, from varying backgrounds and talents on his wish-list.
Dowd said that the loss of Legue to Sheffield Steeldogs, had been an unexpected blow at the start of the close-season.
“Jeff has been a rock in Sheffield for many years and puts up points up every year.
“We have got to bring in a guy who is a surefire to score a lot of goals” - he said, a desire which might be met with a marquis signing by his employers in the next day or so.