Dave Simms' Sheffield Steelers column: A thank you to Jonathan Phillips as he prepares for 1,000th league outing
On Saturday when the Steelers skate out against Coventry Blaze, our captain Jonathan Phillips will be celebrating his 1,000th Elite League game.
Phillips will be the first player to reach this landmark.
It is an incredible, phenomenal achievement that should be applauded and recognised.
In his time here in Sheffield he not only holds the record for games played in a Steelers uniform, presently 844, but is also our most decorated player and captain.
Wearing the “C” he has lifted four league titles, won three play-off championships and he was an assistant captain for a fourth play-off success.
His shirt will surely be the next raised into the rafters here at the Arena, though I hope not for many years to come.
This 37-year-old still has years ahead of him.
His importance to the team and the club as a whole can’t be underestimated.
He is our rock, our stability. He doesn’t rant and shout.
He takes you into a corner, or for a coffee, and explains how it has to be here in Sheffield.
Jonathan Phillips leads by example, and even at 37 is our fittest and strongest player every year in testing.
First in, last out. A machine in the summer months, whilst others are resting he is preparing and trying to stay one step ahead of the others.
Those others maybe want his place, his role or that “C” but you have to get up early in the morning to be one step ahead of this Steelers legend.
Given his age, maybe others should be coming up and bumping him aside saying “Hey old man, let me show you how it’s done” but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
I think Phillips would relish that challenge of a Shudra, a Brown or a kid from another club coming in and picking that scrap.
I think he would say “bring it on” but also he would look at his rival and say “be careful what you wish for kid because I’m going to take you to some very dark places and you are going to have to dig like you can not ever have imagined if you want my shirt, my role and my armband.”
Phillips is one of the last old school guys, there isn’t a snowflake anywhere around him. #
As a kid he came up the hard way, without privileges.
The best mother you could wish for, a respect level and proper grounding. He was given nothing and worked for everything.
Those morals and that DNA is what drives him today.
Jonno is a one-off and if you know him then you are privileged.
If you play on his team, be grateful.
They don’t make them like him anymore I’m sorry to say and the sport and the world is a poorer place because of that.
On Saturday he sets another milestone.
If that doesn’t warrant your support, your gratitude and your presence then you need to look in the mirror.
Thank you Jonno.