Video: British ice hockey must be careful rules don't frustrate the paying-public, says Sheffield Steelers defenceman

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Davey Phillips says British ice hockey has got to find the right balance between entertaining, physical hockey and safety - otherwise players and fans will become disillusioned.

The defenceman was amongst the Sheffield Steelers players who fell foul of strict officiating against Leksands in two pre-season friendlies, last weekend.

"It seems there are a few rule changes this year...that's another thing we have to adjust to," he said.

"We have to make sure we are on board with them because we will be in the box a lot if we don't.

"If the guy passes it, that split second after it, you can't make contact with him any more.

"You can only make contact if he actually has the puck."

Davey Phillips lets the right hand go

Davey Phillips lets the right hand go

It calls for accurate timing - not easy in the hurly-burly of a high-speed game with the flying Swedes.

But can rule changes lead to uncertainty - and even timid hockey?

"I 100 per cent agree. It must be frustrating for the fans as much as the players" said Phillips.

"You don't want to see a stop-start game, one team is on the power play and (another) killing the full match.

"They have got to find the right balance of protecting players and free-flowing hockey.

"I know they are trying to stop injuries from happening," said the GB man.

"They have got to find the right balance and keep it entertaining for the fans while still protecting the players."

Phillips admitted the Swedes "got under our skin".

"It was tough, they are a good side, we took a lot of penalties. We didn't really get in the flow of the game.

"It (discipline) is something we need to work on straight away, our frustration levels."

Phillips chalked up a couple of excellently timed hits during the two hours of play.

"It is one thing I have always tried to bring to the team.

"I try to use my size and be a bit of physical presence out there.

"But if they are making these rule changes as well that is one thing I have got to adjust to."

Despite the scale of Sunday's defeat, Phillips said he savoured the new-look team's overall work ethic.

"We battle hard. Every loose puck, every 50-50 battle we are getting in there, we are gritting our teeth.

"The more we practice with each other we'll get a bit more chemistry. We have to build on it every practice and in every game.

"Everybody is buying in every shift and playing hard."

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