Video: Jackson Whistle may face import competition for his role as goaltender at Sheffield Steelers says Aaron Fox

Aaron Fox is pondering whether to strengthen the goaltending at Sheffield Steelers for next season.

By Bob Westerdale
Wednesday, 01 May, 2019, 05:00

Jackson Whistle, currently on duty with Great Britain ahead of the World Championships, has a contract for next season.

Assuming that remains in place, Fox may move to bring in competition to him, as the previous coach Tom Barrasso did, for a short length of time.

Barrasso brought in Matt Climie although the import choice turned out to be an unsuccessful one.

Asked whether a new goalie was on his shopping list, Steelers' new recruiter-in-chief said: "We are going to need whatever we need to do to make this roster better.

"We will evaluate the market if there is a situation out there where we think a goalie can come in with Jackson and compete, or give us an edge, then we will look at that situation.

"Everything is on the table at the moment.

Jackson Whistle in goal at iceSheffield at the beginning of last season. Pic by Dean Woolley

When you finish in seventh place and don't make the play off final four, in Sheffield, obviously you need to get better.

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"In saying that, Jackson's game really grew on me from the first couple of games until the end. His game really came around and he started playing some pretty solid hockey and I don't want to say that some of the losses were on him.

"It was more of a team-effort there and he kept the club in a lot of those games. And I actually didn't mind his game at all."

Whistle conceded five against a crack Russian team at Sheffield Arena, in a GB warm-up game last Sunday, but his defence didn’t do him any favours in the middle period.

Statistically, last year Whistle had a .889% save-success rate in the League. The top goalie was Tyler Beskorowany of Belfast Giants with .921.

Fox, who has a three year deal with Sheffield, is plotting a way to catch up with Belfast and Cardiff Devils.

And he is optimistic that his changes can do the trick.

"With the group we have coming back and with the Brits coming back - I like all of them...I have a lot of recruiting to do but if we get that right I think we will be right there."