Sheffield Steelers: New deal announced for Davey Phillips

Davey Phillips went into combat with the Great Britain national side yesterday bolstered by the fact that his domestic club has handed him a new one-year deal.

Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 6:00 am

Including the Covid mini-series, it will be the seventh year he has been contracted to represent Sheffield Steelers.

And that puts an end to the ill-judged rumours that he might be looking to step down a level into the NIHL.

The defenceman will be 35 at the start of the EIHL season, but his level of fitness has never been in question.

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Davey Phillips, currently on Geat Britain duty, has agreed a new deal with Sheffield Steelers

In fact, he is part of the core British group that Aaron Fox, the coach, likes to build around.

Phillips missed only four of 67 Elite games for Steelers last season and had a plus-five statistic in the plus-minus stakes over 50 league matches.

Fox routinely paired him with ultra-consistent Kevin Schulze, who was free to explore offensive opportunities with Phillips guarding the blue line.

And with Sam Jones also returning next season, there will be at least two Brits, again, in the defensive zone.

Who the others will be on 'D' is open for much debate.

Adrian Saxrud Danielsen has left the club for his home town Norwegian side and there is no definitive news on Schulze, Keaton Ellerby, Daine Todd or Antonin Boruta.

Schulze appears to be a priority re-signing but nothing is finalised.

One other homegrown player you'd expect to see around the Arena locker room, skipper Jonathan Phillips, was delighted when his namesake was re-enlisted.

The winger interrupted his focus on GB events in Finland to say: "Davey is a core ingredient in our team both on and off the ice.

"He is ever dependable and almost ever-present.

"And the Steelers' profile wouldn't look quite right if he wasn't there stood alongside us on the ice and in the dressing room.

"He has an outstanding season last year and we expect just the same of him moving forward.

"As a Great Britain colleague he shows the same hunger and determination and he is, without doubt, one of the pedigree British players in the Elite League."

Steelers coach Aaron Fox added: “Davey played some very consistent Hockey this year. Plays such an unassuming role and gives you everything he has every night. He’s Great on the PK and willing to pay the price whenever needed. Hes so good in the dressing room as well. He’s Definitely part of our core and great to have him back for another year.”

The Russia-Ukrainian conflict has had a knock-on effect on the Russian KHL division, the second best league in the world.

Ukrainian players won't be in any hurry to sign in Russia and will instead be courted by teams in the German DEL and the Swedish SHL.

That will mean players who had intended to play in Gemany and Sweden could go to Austria or elsewhere.

Odense Bulldogs in Denmark - coached by ex Steelers' team boss Paul Thompson - have just recruited Ukrainian d-man Igor Merezhko, for instance.

And there will be others trickling down in the EIHL.