Age is no barrier to glory for Jonathan Phillips as Sheffield Steelers' skipper signs new deal

He will be 39 when Sheffield Steelers face off their new EIHL season in September.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 6:00 am
Sheffield Steelers skipper Jonathan Phillips and his family. Pic by Dean Woolley

Yet, bafflingly, there will be no one fitter or faster across the entire Elite League than club and country captain Jonathan Phillips

And that super-conditioning is just one of the reasons why Phillips will be returning for a jaw-dropping 16th Steeler season at the Arena...and possibly beyond.

Phillips' freshly inked contract - as predictable as it is welcome - was confirmed by coach Aaron Fox today.

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As foreseeable is his hunger for success - the Welsh winger wants to build on the four league titles, five play off championships and last year's Challenge Cup that he helped the team win.

“Jono coming back was an obvious one,” said Fox. “He’s our leader on and off the ice here and as we have seen age is just a number to him. His skating is still elite and the shape he keeps himself in I would put up there with anyone in the league.

“He will once again play a solid role for us and be a catalyst for our Penalty Kill and give me options anywhere in our line up. It’s great having him back and I know he will be a big voice in our room.”

Phillips, who joined Sheffield in 2006 from Cardiff Devils, holds the all-time appearance record for Steelers (905 times.) He is also sixth in the all time points scoring charts having scored 170 goals and 457 points.

He is not a big penalty taker - but has spent some 12 and a half hours in the box over this time in South Yorkshire.

The skater said: “I think as Foxy says, age is just a number to me.

"I know I’m in great shape physically and ready and able to go for more than just this forthcoming season.

"I will know before anyone else when the time is right and I’m not getting messages from the body that that is happening any time soon.

“I get up in the morning and want to go to the gym, want to work out and get stronger and faster. I’m excited to play, excited to lead us into another season.

“I like what Foxy is once again putting together and that’s a team that gives us a chance to compete every night and win."

The GB mainstay was praised by the International Ice Hockey Federation recently, after he captained the senior national team at this year’s World Championships for the NINTH time.

The IIHF noted it was a "long and impressive achievement not just to play in nine World Championships but to be good enough and respected enough to be handed the 'C' year after year."

Phillips passed 100 senior caps in Latvia.

His leadership skills were also applauded by former Steelers' team-mate Aaron Brocklehurst, in The Star, recently.