Brandon Whistle personifies Sheffield Steelers' unpredictable season so far - Bob Westerdale Column

Nothing demonstrates the uncertainties of sport more than the season Sheffield Steelers are experiencing.

Friday, 4th March 2022, 10:30 am

Recently, it's been dizzying.

Their top of the league team loses to bottom of the league opponents.

In the space of four days they win 5-3, then they lose 5-3.

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Their goalie Barry Brust records an 85.71% save percentage to aid his team beat Coventry Blaze. Freakily, he clocks up exactly the same statistic at Fife Flyers and sees his side lose.

In their last seven games, with Belfast Giants coming up on the rails, they lose four times.

Steelers have perhaps the deepest pockets and squad in the league, yet an unexpected number of injuries left them scrambling to make loan signings on transfer deadline day.

They have just lost two out of three at home and won two out of three away.

Brandon Whistle, left, joins a Steelers goal celebration entourage. Picture: Dean Woolley

Where do you even start trying to make sense of this exciting, yet crazy season?

Brandon Whistle is probably not the best man to ask.

He started off the season playing NIHL hockey at Leeds Chiefs. Then the coach, his father Dave, was sacked.

Obivously that left him in an uncomfortable position, but Leeds appear to removed any embarrassment by fulfilling his two-way contract permitting him to play at EIHL Sheffield.

While nothing to that effect has been written in stone, Whistle hasn't pulled a Leeds shirt on since January and prefers to be in the UK's top league.

Asked how he felt when his father was sacked as Leeds' head coach, the 24-year-old replied: "It was difficult, for sure. I mean, it is a hockey decision first so it happens, and it has been around the game, at the same time it is my family and might not have gone down the right way.

"It is kind of a hard thing to deal with for a little bit; but it's good now."

Would he play for Leeds again?

"My goal is to stay here, (Sheffield) get in as many games as I can here, if Leeds allow it. Right now they have been good with it so we will see what happens."

Last Saturday Whistle junior faced off against his father who is now assistant coach at Nottingham Panthers.

It didn't end well for Dad; Panthers lost 7-3.

All in all, it was a strange experience for Canada-born Brandon.

"It was weird, I saw him for a minute or two before the game, it was kind of funny. I told him he was 0+2 against his kids (his brother Jackson plays for Belfast Giants.)

"I'd never played against him, I'd only played for him, for a little bit of this year."

With the family turmoil of Leeds seemingly behind him, Brandon is enjoying some bumper ice time, filling in vital spots in an injury-ravaged side.

On Sunday he scored a goal and an assist in the 5-3 win over Coventry, although that was followed by a reverse score defeat at Fife on Wednesday.

Generally: "It's good to be back," said the forward who dressed 54 times for Steelers in 2018-19.

"Right now I am getting the opportunity to play more games here so it's nice and feels good.

"It's been a bit of whirlwind.

"At the beginning of the year I wouldn't have thought this would happen but I just try and earn my spot every day and if I get the opportunity to move up on the line up or play a little power play I am thankful for it, for sure."