Sheffield Steelers talisman bides his time over Arena future

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Sheffield Steelers’ league title win - and their tight-knit dressing room kinship - could be a factor in the side keeping hold of their talisman skater Mathieu Roy next season.

The winger is a League top scorer with 42+53 in 64 games and has been a revelation from the first day of the season.

Mathieu Roy - Sheffield Steelers Championship Win 21/03/2015

Mathieu Roy - Sheffield Steelers Championship Win 21/03/2015

The Canadian stayed six seasons with his last employer, Florida Everglades and Steelers will be keen to keep him for next season’s title defence.

Roy would not be drawn on his personal circumstances, though.

Asked about his plans, he replied: “Let’s win the Play Off next, that’s my next step.

“I don’t know (about next season,) we’ll talk.”

But he did say that winning the League “means a lot especially with a great group of guys like we have got this year, it is unbelievable.

“There have been up and downs all year and it came to the last game and we won so to win a championship like that, it is a great feeling.”

Roy, who scored two crucial goals and an assist in the season-defining win at Nottingham Panthers last Friday said the team was “on a high” but they now had to focus on getting through to the final weekend “and try to win it all.”

First priority is getting a decent result at Play Off quarter final opponents Fife Flyers on Saturday.

Then it is back to Sheffield Arena for Sunday’s 5pm decider, the winning side going through to the semi-final at Nottingham’s NIC.

Fife were the last team to slide into the Play Off spots after finishing in eighth position.

* Head coach Pete Russell has confirmed his final 23 players to represent Great Britain in April’s World Championship in Eindhoven, and two international fixtures against Poland - recalling Sheffield’s Mark Thomas into the squad.

“I am delighted to announce my first Great Britain team to represent our country” said Russell.

“Since Christmas, we have watched a lot of hockey and evaluated all our available options but, more importantly, searched for the right players who we believe fit into our playing philosophy and identity.

“When taking on the role of head coach, I stated my goal to implement a new identity of play and to select players who fit into each role to make our group more balanced and complete as a unit.

“I believe we have done this and we have selected the right individuals for this period of the process.

“We have players returning with good international experience and we have some new blood coming into the fold as well, which is exciting.

“We have a good mix of speed, skill, power and grit. We also have the right mix of offensive-minded talent and more defensive-minded talent.

“For me, this is vital to us while pushing forward to reach our goals for not only this championship but for our future.

“A few months ago I openly said that the Great Britain player we are looking for should have the following must-have qualities; high levels of work ethic, good technique and technical ability, compete, good character and good mentality.

“We have selected players with those qualities and now it’s all about bringing them together as a team.

“I will not make any big predictions but what I will promise is these 23 individuals will work tirelessly to do our country proud every time we step on to the ice.”

GB will play two games against Poland next month as part of the training camp.

The two sides meet at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham on Thursday 9th April (7:30pm) and in Coventry’s Skydome on Friday 10th April (7:30pm).

GB SQUAD

Netminders

Ben Bowns - Cardiff Devils

Stevie Lyle - Swindon Wildcats

Tom Murdy - Telford Tigers

Defencemen

Josh Batch - Cardiff Devils

Russell Cowley - Coventry Blaze

Ben O’Connor - Sheffield Steelers

David Phillips - Belfast Giants

Mark Richardson - Cardiff Devils

Paul Swindlehurst - Dundee Stars

Mark Thomas - Sheffield Steelers

Jonathan Weaver - Telford Tigers

Forwards

Chris Blight - Dundee Stars

Jonathan Boxill - Nottingham Panthers

Robert Dowd - Sheffield Steelers

Robert Farmer - Nottingham Panthers

Mark Garside - Belfast Giants

Matt Haywood - Braehead Clan

Robert Lachowicz - Nottingham Panthers

Matthew Myers - Cardiff Devils

Jonathan Phillips - Sheffield Steelers

Jack Prince - University of Alabama-Huntsville

Colin Shields - Belfast Giants

Liam Stewart - Spokane Chiefs

Reserves

Netminder

Mike Will - Cardiff Devils

Defencemen

James Griffin - Coventry Blaze

Sam McCluskey - Dundee Stars

Sam Oakford - Nottingham Panthers

Forwards

Ben Davies - Braehead Clan

Joey Lewis - Bad Tolz

Craig Peacock - Belfast Giants

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