Sheffield Steeler reveals why he turned down advances elsewhere to re-sign

Kevin Schulze - who re-signed for another year at Steelers today - has revealed how he took it upon himself to elevate his performances after the injury to team-mate Daine Todd, last season.

Friday, 17th June 2022, 6:00 am

Todd had been an eye-catching quarter-back for Sheffield before a leg break in February.

Read More

Read More
NHL veteran signals he'd like to return to Sheffield Steelers

It left coach Aaron Fox with the need to find a player who could emulate Todd's speed and quick thinking across the ice.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Schulze said there was no direct communication with the coach about him expanding his role - there didn't need to be.

"It was kind of evident that Todd was out and being an offensive defenceman like him I needed to step up more" he said.

"There was no communication outright about that; I just felt I needed to help the team out more."

Schulze's success in that regard - he ended up being the club's top points scorer for a full-time 'D' - brought him 45 points in 67 games.

Kevin Schulze turns on the style.

And his enjoyment during the winter months in the UK encouraged him to sign on again.

He said the factors included: "Knowing the city, knowing Foxy, there are a decent lot of guys coming back, I think, and the fans are some of the best I have played for.

"I enjoyed it, it was a really good team, a fun group of guys. Even though it was not exactly the results we wanted, overall it was a pretty good year."

Asked if he could explain the poor string of results that led to the team trailing behind Belfast Giants in the title race, he replied: "I wouldn't say I saw it coming; at the beginning of the year we had some bounces and used them up at the beginning of the year as the end of the year it seemed like we weren't getting them. That's hockey."

Schulze chases the puck down.

Schulze, whose parents are both of German heritage, said other clubs had been interested in his services.

After his 15 games with Steelers in the Elite Series of 2020-21, Cardiff Devils had offered him a deal, I understand.

More recently, Schulze said: "There were a couple of teams yes, I don't know who. There might have been potential (in the EIHL) but I'd decided I'd stay with Sheffield."

Last year, the 29-year-old American shared club accommodation with Justin Hodgman in the city centre.

Daine Todd, injured.

"It was good, there. Most of the team lived within a minute's walk, they were nice apartments and a good location.

It was sometimes a little noisy on 'student night' but never too bad or too late, he said.

Coach Fox says he is "really happy we found a way to keep Kevin in orange.

"He’s a smooth-skating offensive defenceman who logged huge minutes for us and is another guy that plays with tons of pace.

"He sees the ice extremely well, has a great stick defensively, and can close out extremely well," said Fox.

"Our Power Play finished first in the league (25.67% success rate) and he ran the top on our top unit. It is great to have him back."