Simmsy column: Aaron Johnson is the latest in a great line of true Sheffield Steelers’ characters

Aaron Johnson - pic by Dean Woolley

With every weekend that passes I see more reasons why Aaron Johnson played so many games in the NHL and other great leagues.

On and off the ice, I see leadership and qualities that I remember seeing in another top NHLer we had here, Brad Lauer.

Composure is a word I would use.

He walks into a room with it and he skates on to the ice with it.

I'll use another Steelers player as an example.

When Steve Munn used to be on the ice I felt safe, safe that even the great Adam Calder wouldn’t score against us.

I get the same feeling with Aaron Johnson, that’s a nice feeling to have in your number one defenceman, isn’t it?

Johnson has been involved in half the Steelers goals over the first three games of season whilst being strong and dominant on his own blue line.

He is one the of the reasons I am confident that the Steelers will succeed this year after a sticky start losing at home to MK on Saturday.

I hear the word “Team” and the statement that there is no “i” in team.

“We win and we lose together”. I hear it, I buy it and I get it.

However, a team needs its stars and it needs them to perform so the supporting cast can do its job.

Therefore, on Sunday at Milton Keynes Lightning it was important that our stars delivered - and boy did they.

Johnson was superb all night whilst Evan McGrath hit two and big Josh Pitt scored his first Steelers’ hat trick, his fourth in three games.

As fans we need our stars to hang our hats on and one of those, Robert Dowd, looks like being out for a good while.

That’s why we needed Pitt to show us those moves last Sunday, why we needed silky smooth Evan to deliver once again.

Also keep an eye on Jordan Owens, assisting everywhere and about the unluckiest man on the ice when it comes to goals. They will come, let me tell you.

In another derby-style clash this weekend the Steelers face Manchester Storm at the Arena – Ryan Finnerty returns once again.

As a player he knew how to star on the big nights and I’m confident so will many of this year’s team.

In the words of Bonnie Tyler “We’re looking out for a hero” and I just get the feeling Johnson will be that man.

Manchester games over the past two seasons have gone heavily in the Steelers' favour.

Finnerty will hate that and be kicking the can all week over in Altrincham.

His teams will be frenetic and determined and will come in here looking for guts and glory.

That’s his way. I can’t wait.

Around 9,300 inside the Fly DSA Sheffield Arena last Saturday – what an effort by the club and then the fans to turn out in such numbers.

I know it was only £5 per ticket but still to get 9,300 people anywhere is an achievement.

There can be no argument that the Steelers brand is building and is as big as ever in the city.

I can go back 25 years to the so-called heydays but when we look back that was an initial spike, as we were so new and different. This time I feel it’s built on stronger foundations.

Our place in this city is a proper one; we are to stay. Our aim is to average around 6-6,500 this season.

A steady increase year on year.

Then within a couple of years 7,500 and so on. Those numbers were once thought impossible but now are within touching distance.

The Arena thinks so, which is why they are being accommodating and supportive.

They gave us better dates because they know we can out the people in their building.

They gave us the room to build a shop because they know they will get the footfall inside required to make their building successful.

The partnership between Arena and the Steelers is real and progressive. It’s the way forward and together that Steelers brand will grow and grow I’m sure.

Sunday we go to Guildford, the dark horses.

The team many are picking to break into the elite this season. We had a good record down there last year, if we can win again on Sunday it will certainly send the required message that the Steelers are for real.

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