Sheffield Steelers: age is just a number for Jesse Schultz
Some eyebrows may have been raised when Steelers selected a goal sniper to become the oldest player on their Sheffield books for the assault on the League title.
Jesse Schultz will be 34 in September.
While Rod Sarich is a year older, the Steeler war-horse will disappear from the roster after the Champions Hockey League and won’t be available for EIHL games.
The new Canadian recruit seems in good shape: he played 55 games last season for SC Riessersee in the German second tier. And the year before that he iced no fewer than 83 times for Rapid City Rush in the ECHL, where he was an assistant captain.
And his new coach Paul Thompson says age is only a number when it comes to modern players, who are used to pacing themselves over the season.
“We are a four-line club and we will not be flogging anybody to death out there” he said. “Nobody is playing 40 minutes like they did in the old days. They are playing less minutes and that suits the older guys.
“These days, with the science that goes into sport, a 40-year-old is probably in the same condition a 29-year-old was when I was playing.
“They look after themselves so well - when I was at Sheffield we probably trained for half an hour and then had eight hours down the pub!”
Sarich has little doubt about the value of a player he played against earlier in their careers.
I played against him when I was at Louisiana IceGators and he was at Columbia Inferno (ECHL 2003-04) where he played alongside Alexandre Burrows (who has played more than 800 games with Vancouver Canucks in the NHL.)
“He is a good skilled offensive player and I can see him scoring a lot of goals in the Elite League.”