Video: NHL veteran ready for Sheffield Steelers' season-opener at Nottingham Panthers

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After 291 games in the NHL, it's probably fair to say Aaron Johnson won't have much to fear in British ice hockey.

But that doesn't mean the 35-year-old veteran isn't up for the challenge of his first year at Sheffield Steelers.

He is here to win - and is thrilled at the opportunities that lie ahead.

Reflecting on his golden career with Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Boston Bruins though, the skater admits he misses that period of his career.

"Any player that gets older you start looking back and start realising how fortunate you were to be a part of these great organisations in the NHL" said Johnson.

"Every time I made a team it was because I worked hard and battled hard.

"I was never a player that kind of just went out and scored goals or did any fancy plays it was just hard work; I felt like every year I was in a tough situation just to be part of certain teams and play in the NHL - I think that is my greatest achievement.

"But here is another chapter, I am excited to be here in Sheffield; so far everything has been first class.

"The fans have been unbelievable. I am looking forward to playing here."

Johnson, who is studying his MBA at the University of Sheffield, is confident his new team can be among the first-class honours this season.

Aaron Johnson playing for Steelers v Timra.  Pic by Dean Woolley

Aaron Johnson playing for Steelers v Timra. Pic by Dean Woolley

"Hockey-wise, we're going to win it, we have a team that has come in prepared, we have had a good training camp. Guys have been training hard so our goal right now is to win every game and to put ourselves in a good situation."

The defenceman arrived at Sheffield after two seasons at Adler Mannheim in the DEL, where he had his first taste of European hockey.

He played in all four Steeler pre-season games against Swedish opponents and said: "So far you can tell that we are a gritty team that never gives up."

He said it was a good sign that the team were still "blocking shots and playing hard at the end of games."

Johnson is aware of the Sheffield-Nottingham Panthers rivalry and is looking forward to the opening day fixture on September 1.

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