Sheffield Steelers’ team spirit should emulate Great Britain Ice Hockey squad next season

Domestic rivalries were swept aside when Elite League players joined up for this month's World Championships, when Great Britain secured their place in the top tier of the Ice Hockey World Championship, in Slovakia.

By Bob Westerdale
Tuesday, 28 May, 2019, 10:00
GB - team spirited

And Sheffield Steelers' dressing room - which will have a lot of new faces for 2019-20, would benefit from the team-spirit demonstrated by the tightly-knit national group.

The GB squad which took on the globe's best included six Nottingham Panthers' players, five from Cardiff Devils and Sheffield, and two from Belfast Giants, amongst others.

They will, of course, all be at each other's throats when the new season starts, domestically.

But Steelers’ winger Robert Dowd knows that the loyalties and friendships formed with GB will remain intact when GB play again – next year GB are in Group A in Lausanne with Belarus, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia and Sweden.

"The team spirit was fantastic - we were all one big happy family," he said.

"We love being the underdogs, we've grown together a lot of us have been together for ten years or so.

" 'Farms' (Robert Farmer; Nottingham Panthers) and I go back to the (Sheffield) Scimitars and we have been really tight for years.

"But all the Sheffield lads are really close, as you'd expect.

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"The goal that beat France in the all-important game came when (club and national skipper) Jonathan Phillips got into a foot-race we knew he'd win.

"He got hit but bounced back up off the ice and had the composure to slide a brilliant pass for Ben Davies to score.

"Jono is a pillar of hockey for Sheffield and the UK and showed that when we needed it.

"Davey Phillips had a fantastic tournament, he was awesome, getting assists and doing a solid job in our own zone.

"Ben O'Connor is a big game-player and you could see how we relied on him when it came to crunch time.

"Jackson Whistle had to show how mentally strong he is when he stepped in when games were going south. He stood on his head in goal.

"It was a great group to be a part of we'll be ready to go again for GB and all our own clubs, next season."

GB's dramatic victory over France - they had been 3-0 down - relegated their opponents for the first time since 2004, ending their run of 12 consecutive appearances in the premier division.