Two-year deal handed to Sheffield Steelers star after impressive turnaround

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Brandon Whistle - the player some felt would never fit in at Sheffield Steelers - has been handed a two-year contract extension at the club.

It's a heck of a turnaround and shows what sportsmen and women can do if they commit fully to becoming an athlete.

An out-of-shape Whistle had a disappointing debut season in 2018-19.

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But he buckled down and proved his fitness and application at lower league clubs Telford Tigers and Leeds Knights.

When his father Dave was fired as coach from Leeds in January, he moved up a rung to Sheffield, playing 30 games for Aaron Fox's EIHL team.

Such was his reliability, that coach Fox played him ahead of others on the roster, notably the healthy scratches that were Nico Feldner and Tommaso Traversa.

Fox liked the energy that Whistle brought, particularly during challenging moments in games.

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Now the 24-year-old right-shot has been handed a new double-year deal at Steelers.

Brandon Whistle, pic by Dean WoolleyBrandon Whistle, pic by Dean Woolley
Brandon Whistle, pic by Dean Woolley

The skater says that continuity at the top of the Sheffield club was a factor in his decision to stay. Perhaps the experiences affecting his father in Leeds played a part.

“It was a big deal for me, Foxy signing for long term future, especially when that coach trusts you and plays you in all situations.

“I’m super excited to be returning to Sheffield, it’s a second home to me now.

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"The deal was done a while ago and was a no-brainer. I’m treated well by the club and fans and you know we have a chance to win every night and compete for the trophies.

Brandon Whistle seeks the puck in Manchester.Brandon Whistle seeks the puck in Manchester.
Brandon Whistle seeks the puck in Manchester.

“I can’t wait to get back.”

Fox is certain the forward's determination to succeed will make him a better play as he matures.

“Brandon really came in this year on a two-way deal (Leeds) with something to prove.

"He came in extremely fit and showed he wants to be a full-time EIHL player.

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Aaron Fox - glad to have a trusted player backAaron Fox - glad to have a trusted player back
Aaron Fox - glad to have a trusted player back

“Brandon brings high hockey IQ, plays on the right side of the puck, he makes plays and got better and better as the year went on.

“I think he’s a player I can really trust to give me a solid effort every night and I’m very happy we could agree on a new two year agreement keeping him in orange.

"I’m expecting him to take another leap this year and continue to get better.”

Last year, in his second spell with the Steelers, Whistle played 33 games scoring six goals and nine points.

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Generally, Fox is happy with the recruitment side of the business, despite the loss of players like Marco Vallerand.

“We are doing good business both in the retention of those from last year's squad (the likes of Martin Latal, Robert Dowd, Davey Phillips, Sam Jones and Curtis Warburton) and also bringing some new faces into the team," he said.

“Whilst we were disappointed with Marco’s decision to leave it is one we respect, in fact, we can use it as a tool in our recruitment, do well here in Sheffield and it can springboard you on to different leagues and teams.

"We have a few more players signed and their names will become public knowledge shortly.

“It's a long process building a team with many factors to be considered."