Video: Ben O’Connor wants so much more from Sheffield Steelers, next season

Sheffield Steelers were a pale complexion of the team that the fans expected last season - and that view was shared by their most influential player too.

By Bob Westerdale
Monday, 06 May, 2019, 17:16

Ben O'Connor, currently on international duty with Great Britain in Slovakia for the World Championships, has had to put season 2018-19 in the rear view mirror.

He took few positives out of it - and wants to finish the campaign on a high with memorable performances in the international top-flight.

Asked what the main element was that Steelers were missing last year, the fleet-footed defenceman replied: "I think it is a number of things.

"There is a reason why we finished seventh, it wasn't because we were missing one ingredient.

"We were missing several. I don't think the team, the way we played is a reflection of this club and what we expect.

"If it is not going well some nights sometimes you just have to dig deep and grind it out.

Ben O'Connor. Pic by Dean Woolley

"And last year I don't think we had that.

He said the "bare minimum was working hard."

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The season had been disappointing and hopefully "Aaron (Fox; new coach) and the staff can put together a team that can change that round."

O'Connor, for one, was delighted to see Fox make his first outside appointment with former Coventry Blaze forward Marc-Olivier Vallerand.

"He is a very good player," he said.

O'Connor recalled that when he played for Coventry he was "the guy you had to respect.

"He is dangerous all over the ice, he is quick, he can score from anywhere. "

"Hopefully he brings that form back like he has the last couple of years and he can pop some goals for us."

O’Connor is with the GB team at Slovakia's European City of Sport, Michalovce, for the final week of training camp before they launch their World Championship mission against Germany, who are rated the tenth best team in the world.

If that wasn’t difficult enough, they then face the world’s best, Canada, 24 hours later.

*Teenage Steelers’ forward Kieran Brown scored a hat-trick and was man of the match as England U19 won the 2019 Frank Dempster Memorial Trophy with a 4-2 win over Scotland in Sheffield last weekend.