A fun night ahead for Robert Dowd and his Sheffield Steelers' fans

Robert Dowd is looking forward to some stress-free, but lively hockey next week.
Robert Dowd, tremendous servant for SteelersRobert Dowd, tremendous servant for Steelers
Robert Dowd, tremendous servant for Steelers

With the regular EIHL season coming to a close, the Sheffield Steelers' veteran is putting the finishing touches to plans for his Testimonial match on Tuesday, March 28, 7pm.

It will be an Arena event illuminated by the arrival of old-time favourites, including Levi Nelson, Mark Thomas, and Colton Fretter, who played for the club with distinction.

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Nelson told fans: "It is going to be a special night for Steelers past and present - it is not one you are wanting to miss out on.

Robert Dowd: fan favouriteRobert Dowd: fan favourite
Robert Dowd: fan favourite

"It is going to be a night to remember and more importantly it is a good chance for us to give back to Robert Dowd and his family.

"He has been nothing short of amazing for Steelers over all these years and it is a good opportunity to show our love and support for the 'Golden Child.' Let's pack the place and get it rocking."

Dowd says he is looking forward to the event, which will have a different look than other previous testimonials.

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"I am very excited, we've changed the usual format to show some exciting fast hockey, based around four teams, two Steeler sides, one representing GB skaters, (including Ben O’Connor and Robert Lachowicz) and a Legends team.

Robert Dowd focused on the actionRobert Dowd focused on the action
Robert Dowd focused on the action

The idea was to celebrate his time so far in Sheffield: "I have been blessed to play with some very talented players over the years - and some characters - and I'm going to bring them back."

The tournament ends with a final where a trophy will be lifted.

Dowd, 34, has played 730 games for Sheffield - some 300 games behind the soon-to-retire comrade Jonathan Phillips.

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But Dowd is six years younger than his club and Great Britain skipper.

Is that enough time to overtake the captain in terms of appearances?

"It's doable," he says. "A lot of things are doable, it doesn't mean they happen!"

One of the younger players on show at the Arena will be Alex Graham, who plays mainly for Sheffield Steeldogs but is itching to carve himself a career in the top flight.

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So far he has iced only 16 times in this season's EIHL programme.

So how does Graham's fight for selection compare to how Dowd had to battle his way up from Sheffield Scimitars as a 17-year-old, 17 years ago?

"I was fortunate in when I first went into the EIHL, we didn't carry spares or anything like that.

"We carried three lines and three lines played."

Dowd played a handful of times for Steelers in 2007-08 campaign but in the post-season his dad, who had negotiated deals with other clubs for Rob's brothers Marc and Garry, insisted he only signed for Dave Mastsos' team when he was guaranteed a spot as a top-nine forward.

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Despite the fact EIHL clubs play four lines now, the number of spots for Brits hadn't changed significantly, said Dowd.

But with veterans like Jonathan Phillips retiring, there would be spaces opening up for 20-year-old Graham.