Sheffield Steelers legend Jonathan Phillips reveals secret of his longevity

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Jonathan Phillips has revealed how the evolution of ice hockey into a faster-skating sport has suited his personal style - and may have helped him stay at the top of his game.

The Steelers' captain clocked up 1,000 performances in a Sheffield short last weekend.

It is a mind-blowing achievement, but one he takes in his stride...Phillips only ever seems to focus on the game ahead.

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The winger is one of several super-fast skaters in the current Steelers' side - Martin Latal, Brett Neumann and Evan Mosey are all speed kings.

And that style within the game generally has been good for him in recent times.

In an interview with Phillips was asked about how hockey had changed since he began playing.

"On the ice, it has obviously become a lot more about skill, skating and speed" he told Robert Newbolt.

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Sheffield Steelers veteran Jonathan PhillipsSheffield Steelers veteran Jonathan Phillips
Sheffield Steelers veteran Jonathan Phillips

"When I first signed as a professional it was a lot of big guys clutching and grabbing, now with the rule changes you can’t get away with that, and the game is based around speed.

"Off the ice has become a lot more professional as sports science has evolved.

"Most teams have a strength and conditioning coach and we have been lucky to have Mike and Danny Mawer training us 52 weeks of the year.

"This is something I would’ve loved to have had available to me when I was younger."

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Phillips, who turned 40 in January, told the website of his favourite Steeler player and most dangerous opponents.

Jeff Legue was the best he'd played with: "He might not have had the biggest resume but I don’t think there has been anyone who was so clutch in big moments throughout his time in Sheffield."

And the strongest opponent: "There are a lot of great teams around the league over the years such as Coventry Blaze when they had Calder/Carlsson/Lehman they were always so consistent.

"In recent years I would have to say Cardiff Devils under Andrew Lord. They were relentless every night and would come at you wave after wave."

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Meanwhile EIHL pacesetters Guildford Flames are leading the whole of Europe in win percentages.

Paul Dixon's team has taken 89% of the points available to them through 23 games, with only two regulation losses in that run - a record unmatched across the continent.