Sheffield's next ice hockey prospect relishes playing with veterans

There are so many veterans currently enjoying the limelight in British ice hockey there surely must be something in that oft-repeated phrase: 'Age is just a number.'

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 10:54 am

Sheffield Steelers and Steeldogs have experienced duo Jonathan Phillips, 38, and Jason Hewitt, 37, on their books.

And the EIHL side welcomed 36-year-old Matt Myers into the fold in Monday's draft.

But while the old 'uns are still doing the business, those at the other end of the age scale are also worthy of attention.

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Jack Brammer in action: Pic from Podium Prints.

Liam Kirk 21, and Alex Graham, 18, are both contracted to play for Steelers and are currently finding the net regularly for Steeldogs in the Spring Cup.

The youngest member of the Dogs' roster is Ecclesfield's Jack Brammer, who at 17 was born four years after Phillips made his debut for Cardiff Devils.

But that tag doesn't mean much to the teenager, a lad who obviously has an old head on young shoulders

"Being the youngest player for Dogs is no different to being the oldest" he states.

Jason Hewitt: a good old 'un. Pic Podium Prints.

"We all get the same respect from everybody and I think personally that’s what you want in a team.

"But I do get great advice from the older guys helping me become a better player.

"Playing with guys with the experience these players have is amazing especially with the feedback they give you. It helps you out so much in your next shift or game."

Brammer says he doesn't consciously admire any specific individual on the roster.

"I don’t look up to a certain player, I try to look up to them all and try to be like them all" he explained.

"They all have their own great attributes and if I can try and master all their attributes it would be great for myself."

The winger was attracted to roller hockey as a child; he started playing at the tender age of three.

"I still play it to this very day," he says.

"I started ice hockey when I was 12 because I was noticed by my very first ice hockey coach Alex Jones who helped me transfer.

"If it wasn’t for him helping me get into ice hockey I wouldn't be the player I am today.

"Sheffield Ice Tigers sponsored me that year and played another big role in why I am playing the sport today.

"My father is still playing roller hockey, my youngest brother Jacob at 14 is coming through the Sheffield system and if he works hard could have an opportunity in making hockey into a career.

"Also my youngest brother Joseph, at five, is playing roller but is really wanting to play ice hockey soon."

Brammer said there wasn't a young "player out there" that didn't want to mirror the path taken by Dogs team-mate Liam Kirk, who was drafted in the NHL and is now back on Steelers' books for April's mini-series and beyond.

"He’s had a great career at such a young age and he still has loads of years left in him" Brammer said.

"My own hockey ambitions are to play in the highest league I possibly can.

"I’d love to play for the Steelers of course but for me to do that I’ll have to work hard on and off the ice which I will be doing for the rest of my career."

As for his current NIHL side he said: "Steeldogs' team is unbelievable. I think Greg Wood and Ben Morgan have picked a unreal team and have a huge chance of winning the Spring cup."

Woods' men will take on their biggest Cup rivals Telford Tigers home and away this weekend in what will be crunch time for both clubs.

Steelers have added forward Bálint Pákozdi to their squad for the EIHL mini series, they now have a 23-man squad.

Budapest-born Pákozdi, 21, has scored four goals for Swindon Wildcats in the NIHL.

He has played the last two seasons with New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs in the United States Premier Hockey League.