Sheffield Steelers: Alex Dampier gives his support to present-day coach Aaron Fox

Aaron Fox has some way to go if he is to catch up with Steeler coaches of the past.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 1:34 pm

On Saturday, the American will run the Sheffield bench for the 100th time.

Five coaches have been successful enough to merit more games than him, at the helm.

Alex Dampier, a founding father of the club, coached some 364 matches, Mike Blaisdell 309, Dave Matsos, 291, Paul Thompson, 249 and Ryan Finnerty 140, according to steelersstats.co.uk

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The coach afforded the least amount of time to weave his magic was Dennis Maxwell, in a particularly crazy time at the club in 2005-06,

Dampier keeps an eye on Steeler developments from his lakeside home in Thunder Bay, Ontario, even though his five-year employment by the club ended back in 1998.

The Canadian, the architect of 237 wins, was surprised to hear he remains the longest-serving coach at the club.

"I didn’t know I had been around that long," he told The Star.

Aaron Fox will run the bench for the 100th time for Sheffield Steelers this weekend

"Sheffield represents a great time filled with marvellous memories for my family and me.

"Now, it is good to hear the present coach has chalked up his own milestone.

"I hear the team is doing well under him and long may that continue. I hope he catches up with my number of games and brings lots of trophies and successes along the way."

Steelers' skipper Jonathan Phillips believes Fox had been quick to adopt and enhance the Steelers' philosophy.

Sheffield Steelers' Jonathan Phillips and Marco Vallerand below coach Aaron Fox

"From day one, he bought into what Sheffield is all about.

"From a player's point of view, he is a player's coach and one of the best we have had here.

"He is a very calm individual which is important because there is a pressure to win in Sheffield.

"He knows that and is a steady type who recognises the DNA of the club is to win league titles.

Former Steelers coach Alex Dampier and his daughter at their home in Ontario

"Some (imported) coaches, in the past, have struggled with the idea that winning the league is more important than anything, but that is not the case with Aaron."

Steelers are awaiting news on their injured players. John Armstrong and Matias Sointu were missing last weekend and the league's top points' scorer Marco Vallerand was hurt in the game at Guildford.

It is possible Fox may rest some skaters in the dead-rubber Challenge Cup game at Nottingham Panthers, while restoring them, if possible, for the more important home league game with Cardiff Devils.

Sheffield will have to work hard to contain Devils' right-winger Brodie Reid on Sunday, he has scored nine goals in seven games for the Welsh.