Brendan Connolly wants Sheffield Steelers return next season

Brendan Connolly will be fit and raring to go for the new Elite League season - hopefully in a Sheffield Steelers' shirt.

Thursday, 26th May 2022, 11:37 am

The fiercely competitive forward's season ended prematurely when he injured his anterior cruciate ligament.

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The knee injury came when he was playing in a Continental Cup game against Aalborg in November and that was the last fans saw of him on the ice.

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Not only was his EIHL campaign ruined, but he had to admit defeat in his hopes of representing Great Britain six months later, in the World Championships in Finland.

GB missed both him and his former Steelers' team mate Liam Kirk, who suffered a similar injury while playing in America.

But Connolly, who had scored a point a game in his 14 domestic matches, is filled with positivity when he looks ahead.

"Rehab is progressing very nicely," he told The Star.

Brendan Connolly.

"Everything is on track for a full recovery and I’ll be ready to start next season.

"I’m just filling the protocols of the physical therapist as well as ongoing communication with Mike Mawer (Steelers' head strength and conditioning coach) in setting up a specific training programme, to keep me progressing."

That continued link with Sheffield in the close season is a good sign about his intentions.

And the 36-year-old Canadian made his position clear on his professional desires: "I hope I’m back in Sheffield next year and I’ll keep chatting with Foxy (coach Aaron Fox) and hopefully get something done soon."

Brendan Connolly.

Connolly had the best plus-minus statistics in the league before his first injury cropped up in 2021-22, he had also missed five matches with a groin complaint before his ACL issue.

In the upcoming season, 'Conns' will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of team-mate Robert Dowd, who had to bounce back from injuries in previous seasons to be an ever-present on the pad.

The EIHL season will commence on the weekend of the 10th and 11th of September, after a series of exhibition matches against Nottingham Panthers - opposition in the Challenge Cup Group - and Coventry Blaze.

Connolly was certainly buzzing and ready to go in the first competitive Steeler game of last season - he scored two goals and an assist in an 8-3 Cup victory over Manchester.

Brendan Connolly.

The former Belfast Giants and Glasgow Clan skater, whose father was born in Northern Ireland said he was "definitely gutted" to have missed out on the World Championships, and said he had to settle for "watching them and cheering from home."

Sadly, Britain's three-year occupation at the highest level of the sport came to an end on Monday, with a 5-3 loss to Austria, which meant relegation.

Austria had Nico Feldner on their roster, the prospect who iced six times for Sheffield last season.