Sheffield Steelers star expecting big changes in bid to bounce back

Davey Phillips is patiently waiting to see who will be recruited to become his new team-mates at Sheffield Steelers next season.

Thursday, 19th May 2022, 1:24 pm

The EIHL team dropped off the pace in season 2021-22 and fans can expect some widespread changes because of that.

On top of that form collapse, players like Adrian Saxrud-Danielsen, John Armstrong and Justin Hodgman have moved on and there are question marks over others.

Phillips, however, has signed a fresh one-year deal and he expects coach Aaron Fox to be busy rebuilding the team during the Summer recess.

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While on duty with the Great Britain team in Finland, he broke off preparations for the next World championship game to talk about club matters.

"I am very happy in Sheffield, it was an easy decision," he said, referring to his new contract.

"It is a big club and just knowing that every year they are going to be up there challenging for trophies - just to be able to play on a top team is something as a player you have always wanted to be trying to do every season," he told GB media officer Chris Ellis.

Asked about last season's lack of EIHL silverware, he said: "At a team like Sheffield - and it's the same with all big clubs - any year you come away empty-handed is classed as a disappointing season and it was.

Sheffield Steelers' Davey Phillips, guarding the GB net. Pic Dean Woolley

"So, next season we need to re-focus, re-group, make some changes, and hopefully next season, we can do (win trophies.)

The 34-year-old defenceman said there were high expectations on all the big Arena outfits but added: "Everyone enjoys the pressure of being on one of the bigger clubs.

"I don't think anyone wants to be on a team at the bottom of the league knowing that you are not really going to be expected to win any trophies."

He said there was pressure to win every single game but stated: "That's what every athlete wants to be doing."

John Armstrong, who has left Sheffield Steelers, and Barry Brust

As for the overall Sheffield experience, he said: "It is nice playing in that big Arena, we get well looked after and I get the opportunity to live at home, in my own house, as well.

The former ECHL player, who has played in Australia and Hungary, said he'd prefer to be based locally rather than living in different cities and countries.

"I feel comfortable being at home and being with my family."

The Elite League's ten-member teams have agreed an increase to the game-day roster for next season.

Justin Hodgman departed Sheffield Steelers at the end of the season

The upcoming roster size will be: Maximum number of players (goalies plus skaters): 20, maximum number of non-homegrown players: 14.

The maximum number of non-homegrown players that can be signed in a single season, excluding injury reserve, remains at 20.

Meanwhile, Cardiff Devils have named Canadian former player/assistant coach Brodie Dupont as head coach.