Feisty goaltender Barry Brust signs for Sheffield Steelers
This is the 6ft 2ins goalie entrusted to lead Sheffield Steelers to a League title in the coming season.
A netminder makes or breaks a team’s candidacy for championship status - and Barry Brust now bears that responsibility.
His pedigree suggests he should have more than enough experience to handle pressure at EIHL level.
He is said to be “hot-tempered” and aggressive. Brust once described his own style as “out there” - which should be fun for the fans to watch from the Sheffield Arena stands.
But he’s clearly got what it takes when it comes to the serious stuff.
Nine years ago, Brust set a new AHL record for longest shutout streak at 268 minutes.
The 38-year-old Canadian has 185 games over five years in the Russian KHL to his record as well as 245 in the AHL.
And his CV is topped by 11 NHL appearances with Los Angeles Kings in 2007.
He picked Steelers for his latest port of call after working with Sheffield coach Aaron Fox at Medvescak Zagreb.
Brust, a former team-mate of Steelers’ old boy Tim Spencer, arrives in South Yorkshire from HC Slovan Bratislava in the Czech Republic.
“Brusty is a big goalie who has played at the highest levels in North America and Europe,” said Fox. “I had Barry with me in Zagreb and love what he will bring to our group on and off the ice.
“He played the 19-20 season in Slovakia and led the league in save percentages and goals-against average while there. He reads the game and plays better than any goalie I have had which I think is a huge strength.”
Fox sees his back-stopper as an accomplished stick-handler.
“Barry plays the puck extremely well and I think his style and edge he plays with will be one that our Steelers’ faithful will immediately love.”
Brust is excited about the new experience ahead.
“Foxy and I know each other well and we have been speaking about me joining Sheffield for a couple of years now,” said the man from Swan River, Manitoba.
“My mother was born in South Shields, she recently passed away and I think there was a bit of a calling to come over to see where she spent her first 15 years,” he said.
“Hockey is always the first priority but playing in the same country as she was from helped make the decision in some ways.”
Brust says he’ll be happy to add his experience to the locker room leadership group.
“I may look daft, but I think my hockey IQ is excellent. I think I understand the game well. I should, I’m on the ice looking at it for 60 minutes!
“Sometimes as a player and a teammate you can say things, at the right time, to the group that resonates.
“I pride myself on knowing the right time to do that. Like all players, we just want to win and anything we can do to help that happen we will do.”
Steelers have also handed a returning contract to Kevin Schulze, 28, following his solid displays in the recent Elite mini-series.
“Kevin came into the Elite Series and made a huge impression on and off the ice with us,” said Aaron Fox.
“He led our team in total points as a Dman and for an undersized guy also played a hard-nosed game in his own end.
“Kevin’s skating is his biggest strength and extremely special. We saw him lead the rush and still be back first once the puck was lost which allows him to play a more aggressive game.
“I’m sure that he will also be a key PP guy for us and also a solid PK guy.
“We had to deal with offers from other clubs we considered in the mix for the League but ultimately he loved his time in Sheffield and wanted to be here.”
Schulze said the mini-series gave him a “great taster” of what to expect.
He hopes to play a pivotal role in the hunt for EIHL offers.
“If I can do that by contributing on the power-play, a little like we did in the Elite Series then I will be happy.”
Both Brust and Schulze will be studying for a Masters in Sports Business Management at Hallam University.
“This is a new and exciting relationship we have with this outstanding University,'' said Fox.
“Sheffield Hallam University has been most helpful and accommodating in the process and without them we would have struggled to conclude these two deals.”
Schulze added “As hockey players, all we tend to think of is hockey, hockey and hockey. This chance for me to study and play is a big thing to me. There is a lot of life to live after hockey and I’m appreciative of the opportunity given to me to explore this Masters Programme.”
Fox has just one more place available in his squad.