Sheffield Steelers’ defenceman Ben O’Connor can’t wait to find out who his “significant other” will be, in the coming season.
Last season, the 26-year-old ‘quarter back’ played alongside two partners, Dustin Kohn and Mark Thomas. Kohn’s services were dispensed with after the league-winning season completed, while Thomas has joined Manchester Phoenix.
“Kohner’s injuries were really unfortunate last season as I got on with him and Thommo on and off the ice” said O’Connor. “It is important to have a similarly relationship when we start again. Having a rapport at the back is the same as the forwards need the right linemate; if you looked at Mathieu Roy and Colton Fretter, it was great to see how they clicked. They were a perfect example of how working together as a pair can benefit the whole team.”
O’Connor certainly wouldn’t complain if he was icing alongside Rod Sarich, the evergreen 34-year-old who has been granted another term in the squad.
“Roddy is the Chairman of the Board” said the younger man.
“Nobody messes with him. You watch, in every game he crushes somebody with a hit.
“He is in great shape and the longer the season went on last year, the better he got. “He had a year off, and that seems to have settled any injuries he might have had; he came back stronger.”
O’Connor, who names Cardiff Devils and Coventry Blaze as major threats in Steelers’ defence of the League title, says he is not fazed by Sheffield not bringing in any marquee British signing this Summer; the main Arena activity has been in the deployment of new imports.
“I don’t think I’d change anything with the home-grown contingent” he said. “Dowdy, (Rob Dowd) for instance is up there with the best in the League, everybody knows what Jono Phillips is about, and Jason Hewitt’s injuries have healed and he’ll have a great season.
“As for Luke Ferarra, I am sure Paul Thompson will get the best out of him.”