Sheffield Steelers Aaron Fox coach mirrors former club great Dave Matsos

Steelers' coach Aaron Fox's management skills and rapport with players have been compared with one of Sheffield's most successful former coaches, Dave Matsos.

By Bob Westerdale
Thursday, 17th June 2021, 10:55 am
Aaron Fox and his bench.
Aaron Fox and his bench.

Fox picked up a Challenge Cup in his first season and his side were play off finalists in the recent EIHL series.

It was during the latter campaign that Jason Hewitt also a coach in his own right, played for him and had the opportunity to assess his style.

And he found Fox's style mirrored Matsos, who drove the Steelers to a League championship in 2007-8 and went one better with a double - the League title and play off championship - the season after.

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The side in the 2008-9 season lost just three games in regulation time.

Hewitt's team mates at that time included the current Manchester Storm coach Ryan Finnerty, Steelers and GB skipper Jonathan Phillips, Steeler Robert Dowd and luminaries including Ashley Tait,

Joey Talbot, Rod Sarich, Jody Lehman and Jeff Legue.

"Foxy, well I thought he was great," said Hewitt, who was back in a Steelers' shirt for the first time in five years.

Dave Matsos.

"He is an honest guy, if you made a mistake he'd let you know, we did plenty of videos where he pointed out where you could have done better and things you did well, too.

"That's all you can ask, and when he does give you the opportunity it is up to you to take it. I played on a regular line, I played power play and penalty kill, so I knew, not to be cocky, that as long as I got an opportunity I felt confident I could do it.

"I had some chances and some plays that could have worked out better but overall I am pretty happy with the showing I gave of myself. I think he gave everybody a fair shot at it."

Hewitt enjoyed working under him saying: "He was most comparable probably to Matty (Matsos; Steelers' coach 2006-10) for me, he had a good relationship with the players.

Jason Hewitt.

"The way he managed people was quite relaxed, there were open conversations, that was one of Matty's big skills. He was not distant with players" said Hewitt, who has been head coach at Hull Pirates since 2016.

"Obviously, hockey is more technical now than it ever was. Video every other day was good, it was eye opening and I was glad to be a part of it."

Canadian Matsos, now aged 47, a former Great Britain assistant coach, is now running the bench at a major junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League, Hamilton Bulldogs.

He used to play for them before trying his luck at Belfast Giants, Cardiff Devils and then coaching at Sheffield.

American Fox, two years younger, came to Steelers from Medvescak Zagreb, in Croatia.