Ben Churchfield will 'earn his way' into Sheffield Steelers' starting spot

If anyone thinks Ben Churchfield is disillusioned with two import goalies now ahead of him in the Steelers' pecking order, then think again.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 12:18 pm

When the 25-year-old Brit signed for his first full professional season at Sheffield fans assumed that would mean a battle with the starting, import netminder.

That number one turned out to be former Los Angeles Kings NHL'er Barry Brust, whose pedigree automatically suggested he'd be considered the main man in the Arena crease.

But that competition became even hotter when Slovenian Rok Stojanovic arrived, soon to make a considerable impact in goal.

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Churchfield, needing game time, has played once for Leeds Knights in the NIHL, but he has far from given up hope of eventually overtaking those rivaling him as a starter.

In a refreshingly candid interview, the former Great Britain U20s netminder said he was quite clear about his role and the challenges ahead.

"I am here to support both of the guys, Rok and Brusty," he said.

"They are both playing great, I am working hard every day trying to get in the lineup and earn my way in. In the end, it (the competition) is only going to make me a better goalie."

Ben Churchfield pic Dean Woolley

So what is the former Sheffield Steelhawks' player learning from those ahead of him?

Brust had bags of experiences gained from "the leagues he has played in around the world" said Churchfield.

"He reads the game at a very high level and he can break things down to me, personally, that he sees maybe from playing at that high level that I haven't seen yet.

"So talking to him, in the way he mentally plays the game, is really, really impressive and important for me to learn.

Rok Stojanovic under siege at Dundee pic Derek Black

"And when you are looking at Rok, you are looking at a very big goalie, very calm in the net, makes good reaction saves, and is solid every time the guys need him in big moments.

"Again, mentally, the way he approaches the game, also the calmness and the way he moves around the net is really impressing me."

As for his own ambitions, he states: "I would like to get in there and earn my way into being the starting goalie. That is what I am going to keep working at every single day."

Churchfield has played for just 20 minutes of Steelers' eight matches so far.

Barry Brust pic Hayley Roberts

This is why he welcomed the 'two-way' opportunity to represent Leeds, oddly enough against Sheffield Steeldogs.

"It was good to go and play a game for Leeds and get my feet wet on the ice again, for the full 60 minutes. From there we will see what goes."

The form and title drive at Sheffield remains the main goal there.

"I have complete faith in every guy in this room and every single guy is an unbelievable player. We are going to go far and have a lot of success" he predicted.

Meanwhile, Steelers' legend Mathieu Roy has begun work as Glasgow Clan’s new assistant coach.