Sheffield Steelers today signed experienced GB player Davey Phillips, saying they believe they can help him recover the form which made him the best home-grown defenceman in the UK league.
The rugged Yorkshireman, who has 13 seasons under his belt and is currently in Croatia with the national team in World Championship duty, has left Manchester Storm for Sheffield.
He was once recognised as Britain’s finest blue-liner, and spend two seasons in the American minors. Since then he has been eclipsed by his new team-mate, Ben O’Connor.
But coach Paul Thompson, who has coached him at Coventry Blaze and GB, belies he can reinvigorate the 6ft 3in skater, who will be 29 when the new season starts. “I was looking for a right-handed-shot D man and Davey fits the bill,” said Thompson.
“He has size and plays a physical game as well as making a good first pass
“I want to get him back to the top of his game. We are a club that can do that.
“With Jason Hewitt leaving us, I needed to bring in a quality top-end British player. We need to do that if we want to play fast, exciting four-line hockey.
“By adding Davey to the blue line it leaves me scope to add another import up front to balance the lines out.
“The move all happened very quickly. Sometimes it happens that way.”
Elite League teams can roster 14 imports including three EUs.
So Hull-born Phillips’ arrival will lead to a side featuring four import defencemen, (plus him and O’Connor) nine import forwards (plus Rob Dowd, Jonathan Phillips and Luke Ferrara) and one import goalie and back-up.
It is not clear yet whether that squad will include Colton Fretter, Jace Coyle and Fredrick Vestberg, all of whom having question marks above them.
Phillips has played 417 Elite League games as well as having a 64-match spell in the American League in 2009-10.
His best spell in the UK was probably his three years at Belfast Giants.
n Namesake Steelers’ captain Jonathan Phillips set GB on the road to an emphatic victory over Romania in the World Championships Division 1B in Croatia.
He scored after three minutes and was a helper on Jonathan Boxhill’s goal at 10;52.
Britain also enjoyed a 2-0 middle period, Robert Farmer and Colin Shields scoring. Rob Dowd, back from illness, assisted on the first and another Steeler Ben O’Connor on the second. Matthew Myers added a fifth at 48;51.
The last ten minutes saw an exchange of goals.
Jonathan Weaver made it 6-0 at 54;13.
And it looked like Swinton-born goaltender Ben Bowns was on for a shut-out until Ervin Moldovan Horvath scored a consolation for the Romanians.