Sheffield Steelers: Josh Pitt set for Arena return in latest friendly

Josh Pitt returns to Sheffield Steelers with his new club this weekend - and may still be wondering why he isn't playing for the home team.

Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 12:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 12:57 pm
Josh Pitt

At the end of last season, there was never any mention of a potential Pitt return - not a shred of speculation that he might be considered for a new contract.

And that after a season when he never missed a match in 68 outings, was second top points-scorer behind Evan McGrath and notched more goals than anybody other than Robert Dowd.

For some fans, he had an eye-catching way about him, a buccaneering style.

But there were whispers from within the camp that his pursuit of goals and assists - he had a 51 point haul - came at the expense of team-craft.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In short, there were suggestions he was an individualist, too focused on the opposition net and not focused enough on helping his team-mates win the game.

Whether or not that is true, Pitt returns to South Yorkshire with his new paymasters MAC Budapest and will want to show the Sheffield Arena fans - almost 5,000 tickets had been sold midweek - that he is a complete player rather than a maverick.

And he will received a warm welcome from the supporters, who rarely pass up a chance to thanks a player for his service.

Pitt, who turned 27 in June, may find the Tipsport Liga more to his liking, when his domestic season starts.

Last year, he didn't score a point in any of the Steeler friendlies, but when the serious stuff started, and on a line with Justin Buzzeo and Stefan Della Rovere (both of whom were culled some weeks into the season) he scored on his full debut but missed a penalty shot, against Nottingham Panthers.

Eight days later he scored a hat-trick against Milton Keynes Lightning.

In fairness to him, Pitt took defeat (and there were too many of them) as badly as anyone, admitting he was "embarrassed" bu a 6-1 hiding at the hands of Glasgow Clan

Towards the end of the league season, he went 14 games without scoring and didn't find the net in the play offs, either.

*Coach Aaron Fox has confirmed that Jonathan Phillips will again captain Sheffield this season.

As for alternate captains, he has appointed Dowd and new boy Aaron Brocklehurst for home games and John Armstrong and Brendan Connolly for road trips.

Fox said: "Jonno was the clear choice for the captaincy. As a coach you couldn’t ask for a better leader. He’s one of those guys who leads by example and does everything the right way. On the ice, in the weight room and away from the rink."

As for the other assistants, Fox added: "All these guys are really true professionals and bring some different positives to the table. With the veteran group we have they all will play a big part in our success this year."