Medal-hunter back for Sheffield Steelers

Hockey hasn't always provided a stable home for Great Britain international Brendan Connolly.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 6:00 am

In the last seven seasons he has played for nine different teams.

But Sheffield Steelers, for whom he initially signed for a year in 2019, is as close as he has got to a home for some time...and he has underlined that by re-signing for a second full season.

Connolly, who played for GB in Latvia and scored 17 points in 15 games for Steelers in the five week mini series in April/May, was the EIHL club's top points collector in his debut season.

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The feisty forward served more time in the penalty box than any other team-mate too.

He is a key influence in upping the intensity of players around him. And he can be deployed in any sequence of game play.

With Marco Vallerand and Robert Dowd already signed up, Steelers can have confidence that they have made a positive start to the quest of icing an offensively-explosive team once more.

Sheffield head coach Aaron Fox said: "Bringing Conns back was an absolute no brainer for me.

"He’s definitely a core piece for us who plays the game on the edge every night and absolutely hates to lose.

"Conns brings leadership and accountability to our room and is someone I will rely on heavily to play in all situations.

"It’s great to have another piece from our Challenge Cup winning team back and we already know with him and Vally there is built in chemistry already there" said Fox.

Connolly, will turn 36 at the start of the 2021-22 season, but it is clear he is far from running out of gas.

Brendan Connolly in GB action, pic by Dean Woolley
Brendan Connolly in GB action, pic by Dean Woolley

He overcame Covid 19 infection and showed his energy levels were as good as ever for Steelers and GB in recent months.

A club spokesman said: "We all saw Connolly return for the five-week Elite Series and during his time back in Sheffield a deal was struck between him and coach Fox for his full-time return.

"Prior to joining the Steelers, Connolly made his first impact in the EIHL with the Belfast Giants (2017) before joining the Glasgow Clan the following season."

Connolly was born in Canada, but his father spent the first 14 years of his life in Northern Ireland.

Brendan Connolly playing for Steelers.

His attitude to his chosen sport is best encapsulated by a phrase he used in an interview with The Star in February 2020: "Play like you are playing for a gold medal and good things will happen."

He showed that aspiration at the business end of the EIHL mini series, scoring a goal and four assists in the last four matches.

Face off at Belfast for Brendan Connolly.