David Simms’ Sheffield Steelers ice hockey column: Why Dowd is a massive part of the club’s DNA
How important was the return of Robert Dowd?
For me, imperative. The Golden Child is irreplaceable as a one off like for like replacement.
There isn’t another forward out there that could go find his laces in the stock room let alone lace his boots.
On the ice, well we all know his qualities, his tenacity, his ability to score that goal.
Off the ice he is one of the main faces of the club along with Jonathan Phillips, Ben O’Connor and Davey Phillips.
Dowdy’s face is the one you see on the poster, the advert, he is a massive part of the club’s DNA.
I make no excuse for naming those four as the most important members of our side.
Our senior Brit pack is the best out there. GB internationals but more than that, four good, honest men who do bleed Orange.
They are the ones who hold others, those on a short visit through, accountable. They are the ones who feel the pleasure but also the pain when the tide turns.
They don’t play for the Steelers, they see it as their club and I like that.
Dowdy scored 24 goals last year, he was our top scorer.
He also missed a third of the year with injury, that’s how important he is to what we do and what we are.
It’s true that injury always does come knocking at his door. but the vast majority of those injuries are caused by his commitment and the way he plays the game, at 100%.
Blocking shots, a broken hand. His incredible speed causing opponent’ to mis time challenges on his knees and shoulders.
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His injuries aren’t caused by a lack of fitness or a break down in his body, they are caused by impact, whether player, stick or puck. 227 goals, 457 points, that’s what Robert Dowd means to the Steelers. I know this club means a lot more to him.
New head coach Aaron Fox talked about depth when he took the job, the return of Dowdy gives the Steelers the depth and the options that come with that. Options to extend a bench that means on any given night we roll four lines and 6/7 D.
One thing Aaron has mentioned to me several times is his desire for Benny to play a big role and lead the rush, only by having the bodies will we be able to ensure that happens. O’Connor remains the greatest of the talents.
Davey Phillips, we talk about him not as often as we should. His 2 year deal is equally as important, as with Dowd’s, he gives the coach options.
Having two GB defensemen is pivotal to how a squad is recruited.
Remember, we have great faith in Jordan Griffin as well. He will start the second year of his apprenticeship.
Down the line we have a good one there. Having the best kids join us has long been a Steelers thing.
It started with Liam Kirk and Cole Shudra, then Brown and Griffin and now young Alex Graham. A 16 year old with a huge up side, I can’t wait to see him develop.
When Tony Smith announced our Brit pack last week, he left the photo of captain Jonathan Phillips until last, there was a huge cheer when it appeared on the screen.
In Jonno we trust, we have belief because he has led us to the well so many times before. A calm steward, a great leader and a man’s man. Who better for the likes of Shudra, Brown, Griffin and Graham to look up to? None I say.
Our four GB boys will head to the World Championships soon, they play at the Arena once more this coming Sunday in the latest exhibition games ahead of the big dance.
I’ll be there, I hope you will be too so we can cheer them along and wish them well.