Sheffield Steelers goalie's target: to be the top in the Elite League
Jackson Whistle has an ambition to become the Elite League's premier netminder this coming season.
At 23 years of age, he faces a huge task in filling the shoes of the more-seasoned Ervins Mustukovs.
But he is determined to drive Sheffield Steelers towards silverware - and mount a challenge on Ben Bowns’ ownership of the Great Britain team starting jersey.
Whistle acknowledges he is taking over from a Steeles’ goaltender who routinely topped the statistics charts. “It is definitely different when you are being brought in to replace a goalie that has been there for a while” he told The Star.
“‘Moose’ did a good job the last couple seasons for Sheffield but I am looking forward to the challenge and my goal is to be the best goalie in the league next year.”
Whistle was in the national squad which secured promotion back to ice hockey’s elite level for the first time since 1994, in April.
“Getting the opportunity to play for Team GB and represent the country was a great experience for me” he said.
“I thought Bowns had a great tournament and other than probably one-off game we had against Kazakhstan I thought he deserved goalie of the tournament.
“It was great to see how hard he worked day in and day out and I’m looking forward to battling with him in the future for that number one position.”
Whistle says its “very important” that Steelers are among the trophies in 2019.
“The message from day one is that we want to win the league next year and it’s something I’m excited to be a part of.
“I think it would be great to bring silverware back to the fans of Sheffield; it’s something they deserve.
“I 100 per cent believe we are set up to have a successful season next year. I don’t think it will take to long to gel as hockey players are used to being brought into new teams and having to work together.
“It’s just part of the game and something we have learnt to work with.
“I’m excited to meet the new players on the team at the start of training camp.”
Whistle can’t shed much light on the style of play his brother and team-mate Brandon will favour in his debut season in Sheffield.
“To be honest I personally haven’t seen Brandon play a game in the last couple years as I have been over in Europe but he definitely has some skill.
“I’m looking forward to living with him and having him in the locker room, as I am sure it will be very interesting.
“He has an awesome opportunity to come in and be developed as a player just by looking at some of the opportunities Sheffield has given guys in the past.
“I think like anything it will be a bit of a learning curve for him but I know he is excited.”