Sheffield Steelers, Cardiff City, Cardiff Devils..and doing the Ayatollah!

Phil Hill -in full head-patting mode against Cardiff
Phil Hill -in full head-patting mode against Cardiff
Have your say

He is Cardiff born and bred - and as Welsh as a valley male voice choir.

But Phil Hill left his home team Cardiff Devils for Sheffield Steelers in unhappy circumstances - so is that why he did the ‘Ayatollah’ celebration routine when he scored against them?

Absolutely not, says the winger, whose form has been much improved this season. He performed the Ayatollah head-patting routine at Sheffield Arena last weekend but says: “It is something I have always done, it’s not just because I scored against them.” Hill is a big Cardiff City football fan where he picked up the practice.

Asked about the resentment he felt after leaving Devils half-way through last season the 32-year-old said: “I didn’t like how the club was run, didn’t like the way my friends were being treated. They brought in Todd Kelman and (now) I only hear good things. I have got some good friends on that team.”

Hill likes playing in Sheffield, where he had a stint in 2006-07 before heading back to Wales.“I like the pressure in Sheffield, you are going to be competing every game for a championship - I don’t want to play on a team with a fourth or fifth place finish I want to go into every game knowing it’s a must-win, knowing every shift you have to be responsible.

“I enjoy that, sometimes we get matched against the top lines and it is different challenges, it is not so much scoring it is penalty kill, doing little things.”

Hill and his team-mates take on Hull Stingrays, home and away this weekend and he rates the Yorkshire rivals as “a dangerous team.”

“They are stacked with offensive guys and are the kind of team who can lull you to sleep. They have taken big scalps, (although) they may not be as consistent as the coach wants.

“We got wins against them early on but I think they were struggling with injuries they seem to have a full line-up now.”

Hill said Stingrays were not a power-packed outfit. “They are a smaller team, it’s not always a physical battle.

“You might play a shift in their end and then you give up a 2-on-1 breakaway. We just have to stick to our game plan, do what we do best and hopefully we will come up on the right side.”

Like football, he said, the ice hockey Christmas period is busy with games “coming quick and fast,” including the visit of Panthers on Boxing Day. “Last year we seemed to match up with Nottingham pretty well, this year we are getting back to full strength we have Danny Bois in the team now and we have to go in with confidence.

“We are on a good run now, we have been playing strong with a few injuries, hopefully we come out in January on the right side of a few results.”

READ MORE: Click here for all the latest news from the ice hockey scene