Steelers: Decision time looming over Jackson Whistle's future at House of Steel

Decision time is looming on whether Jackson Whistle will wear the goaltender's jersey at Sheffield Steelers, this coming season.

By Bob Westerdale
Wednesday, 24 July, 2019, 14:09
Jackson Whistle

Coach Aaron Fox will have installed a full-import netminder on the roster by the time the season gets underway against Nottingham Panthers in the Challenge Cup on Saturday, August 31.

That recruitment decision has left Whistle - who has a contract with Sheffield for 2019-20 - in a quandary.

His career, and very probably his pay-packet, might suffer as a result of staying at the House of Steel and there is speculation that Nottingham and other Elite League clubs might offer him an escape route.

Fox hasn't discussed personal finances other than an oblique reference to "the numbers" now available for the player, which hints at a reduction on last year.

The Canada-born Great Britain dual national won't have been over the moon at finding out his salary and place - guaranteed for most of last year - was now being seen in a different light.

And you can't blame the player, who only turned 24 in June, from trying to find a better deal.

Nor can you question Fox, whose job it is to provide the best line-up possible in a bid to reclaim Sheffield's position on or near the top of the table.

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He wants a fully alert goalie in both games and in practices - and that is almost impossible if there is a number one custodian doing 90-plus per cent of the work.

Fox says that he extended Whistle the courtesy of some extra thinking time and the opportunity to go elsewhere, if he wants to.

But a decision will be needed shortly as if he goes, Steelers will have to find a replacement on top of the incoming import, as home-grown Brad Day has left the club.

And the goalie's mindset might also influence his 21-year-old brother Brandon, a fourth line winger for the club last year.

Fox will want to see how he feels about a second term with Steelers if his brother goes elsewhere.

It is an intriguing time for the Whistles, whose father Dave was coach at Steelers for some of the 2005-06 season.

Whistle had a .898 save percentage last year in the EIHL. The top achiever was Belfast Giants' Tyler Beskorowany, with .921.