TOMMY PLOMMER is back at Sheffield Arena - and bracing himself for one of the most emotional nights of his life.
The Canadian, who was a Steeler fans’ favourite from 1992-2000, will play in a Legends game in the club’s 20th anniversary a week tomorrow, linking up again with legendary linemates Tim Cranston and Les Millie.
Now aged 42, he told The Star: “It means a lot to see people who we were close to. It’s hard to put into words, it’s an emotional time.
“There had been talk of testimonials and a shirt retirements (in 2000) but it didn’t amount to anything because of the difficult time the club was having. When I left at 32 I still thought I could play a little bit.
“But I knew the decision was right to go home and be a teacher and start my family.
“I try and be humble because I know from a playing perspective I had a lot of great team-mates let alone wonderful people.”
But why did the fans hold ‘the Duke’ Plommer in such a high esteem?
“Part of it has to do with longevity. I was here for eight years and that’s not common” he said.
“But, truthfully, I came to a great city with workmanlike people and I was a workmanlike player. They knew he may not be the best hockey player but they knew he is going to produce what he can every night and not take nights off.
“They knew he was going to play for the jersey and I knew they had paid good money and that I was not going to let them down. They appreciated that and I appreciated them.”
Plommer says he “grew up” in Sheffield, spending his 20s here and putting down roots.
“It was a huge part of our lives, there will always will be strong affinity to Sheffield.”
Asked about skating on Arena ice in eight days, he said: “I don’t know how to describe that. I pined for that (post retiring) I struggled with not playing. I’m not going to take it for granted now, I am going to enjoy it.” And on teaming up with his old linemates: “Cranny was fantastic for me, I looked up to him and respected him and still do. We lost Les too early, he wanted to go to greener pastures, but we were great team together.”