Sheffield Steelers: Kieran Brown ready to prove himself to Aaron Fox

Mercurial talent Kieran Brown looked odds-on to be heading for a breakthrough season, this time last year.

Wednesday, 31st July 2019, 10:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st July 2019, 11:09 pm
Kieran Brown

The exciting, teenage forward appeared on the cusp of converting his energy and potential into a regular spot in Sheffield Steelers' line up - the next Liam Kirk, perhaps.

Sadly, it didn't quite work out like that with Brown a victim of the changing of coaches and their desperate focus on finding instant success on the ice rather than any one player's longer term development.

However, Brown accepts the position he found himself in and is looking forward to proving his worth under Aaron Fox.

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Reflecting on the 2018-19 season, which saw him bounced around Bradford Bulldogs, Blackburn Hawks and Sutton Sting, as well as 34 games with Steelers, he said: "Yes it could have been my breakthrough year.

"It could have gone been better but I wasn't given the chance and I understand why.

"After what happened with the coaches it was no-one's fault, it's just the way it went.

"It is not the best thing going from team-to-team, I like to stick with one team and the NIHL 2 in particular was a big step down but it was all about ice time at the end of the day.

"I didn't really care what level it was as long as I was playing. And I got a lot of ice time: it may have been a lower level but I was getting on the power play and penalty kill and tried to take every chance I could.

"I needed that, young Brits must have ice time if they are going to progress. I'd rather be doing that than sat on a Steeler bench in Scotland when I could be getting ice time instead."

Brown trained first under Paul Thompson and then his replacement Tom Barrasso, learning much from both.

"They were different coaches (in style) Paul was more laid back with the Brits and I will always be grateful to him; he gave me my chance.

"Tom was really strict and professional and stressed how hard it was to work hard to get anywhere.

"He really focused on the young kids, pushing me and Jordan Griffin - if he thought we were being lazy he would get on us to work harder."

But this year's opportunity will be really important for the 18 year old.

"I want to do everything right. I want to be fitter, faster and stronger as I will be playing against men, not kids hockey."

The forward has to prove his worth to coach Aaron Fox.

"In pre-season camp I have got the chance to show him what I can do," said Brown.

"He's watched a few games that I have played in and now I need to show him I can play full time."

The club has made it clear that any "spare players" that don't make the line-up will be sent across to Sheffield Steeldogs.

While Brown wants to make a place on the Steelers' roster his own, he recognises an iceSheffield berth would not be a negative thing.

"I am looking forward to fighting for a (Steelers') spot, and you have to be pushing even in the close-season if you want a spot on that fourth line.

"Competition is what the game is all about. If you don't like competition you shouldn't be playing" said the Great Britain U20 forward.

"But it would be no 'come-down' if I went down to Steeldogs. I don't mind, if I can't get in Steelers then Steeldogs is fine."

*Steeldogs have announced the signing of two Czech forwards, Vladimir Luka and Jan Danecek.