A goaltender who played through injury to help Sheffield Steelers gain valuable League title points has retired.
Geoff Woolhouse, guarded the net when starting goalies Frank Doyle and Josh Unice were both out last season.
Defying medical advice, he backstopped Steelers against Coventry and Belfast helping steer the side to championship glory. However, by playing those games ‘House’ worsened his wounds and he wouldn’t play again that season.
He has now retired and will be replaced by Sheffield Steeldogs’ Brad Day.
Woolhouse, who has been at the club for five seasons after leaving Nottingham Panthers, said: “I watched my first hockey game at the Arena and it’s fitting that my last game played was for Sheffield. Due to a chronic injury problem, coupled with a business opportunity that has arisen, I have decided to retire. It’s been a privilege to have represented the club I grew up supporting. From my first day the fans have been tremendous. I am honoured to have spent such a long period of time and be held with such regard by two giant clubs and feel fortunate to have experienced the rivalry from both sides.”
Steelers’ coach Paul Thompson hinted there may yet be a role at the club for Woolhouse.
“I will certainly stay in touch with House, you don’t want to lose the qualities he possesses and his love for the game. I am sure down the line he can be of great assistance to goalies coming through and be a big asset to the club. Everyone at the club wishes him well for the future.
“He has been a great servant and an outstanding ambassador for the club.”
Replacing Woolhouse is Day, who will be 21 next month.
He is a local lad who has come up through the ranks at iceSheffield.
Day has represented England under 16 and 18 level and backed up the EPL Steeldogs for three seasons.
“It’s a great opportunity for Brad” said Thompson. “We have heard very good things about the young man. Now it’s time for the real work to commence. He has the potential and it’s my job to bring that out in him.
“Having spoken with Brad at length I know he has the desire and the enthusiasm. We will work him hard and I am sure he will prove us right in our decision to move him up to the Steelers on a full time basis.”
Day commented: “This is an incredible opportunity for me and one I intended to grab with both hands. I have loved my time with the Steeldogs but when a chance like this comes along you must take it.
“Working with Paul Thompson, a coach with all of that experience of bringing younger players through will give me every chance.
“I’m excited to get going right now, I wish camp started today. Having spoken to Paul I know its going to be tough and a lot harder than what I have been used to but that’s what I want, I want to be pushed so I can be the best I can be. I can’t wait.”
The future of Steelers third goalie Andrew Jaszczyk hasn’t been decided.