What does the future hold for last season's Sheffield Steelers goalie Barry Brust?

We need to talk about Barry Brust.

Friday, 10th June 2022, 12:13 pm

Did Sheffield Steelers' fans see the best of this well-travelled, sometimes unpredictable goaltender?

Probably not.

Brust played a thousand minutes less than his partner Rok Stojanovič, in the net, he suffered injury issues and took a while to get any sort of rhythm going.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Barry Brust now openly admits he and his own team-mates felt that Rok Stojanovič deserved the number one spot at Sheffield Steelers. Picture: Dave Williams

Today he is back home in Calgary, examining his options, but with fond and lasting regard for Sheffield.

He also showed himself to be a true sportsman and team-conscious comrade, in an interview this week with The Star.

His feelings towards Stojanovič, the Slovenian brought in (we thought) as Brust's cover, point to his true character.

Brust now openly admits he and his own team-mates felt that Stojanovič deserved the number one spot at Steelers, more often than not.

Brust, who had played 11 times in the NHL and had a stellar, five-year career in the KHL, had arrived at Sheffield with a huge reputation.

Yet he got off to an uncertain start. He went off with cramp after 40 minutes of his debut, played only three times in the first nine matches, and saw little action for long stretches, particularly in December and March and away from home.

Looking back at his single season in the EIHL, the 38-year-old netminder was refreshingly candid about his 1,450 minutes in goal, compared to Stojanovic's 2,531.

Asked if he would have liked to have played more, the Canadian, who was drafted in 2002 by Minnesota Wild, replied: "Part of that situation was Rok played so well that there wasn't the need for me to play so much.

"He came in and deserved to play and that was something I had communicated with the coaching staff and there were times that I thought that he deserved it more.

"There was a kind of psyche within the team...I think the team thought he deserved to play so I think it was the right thing to do to allow him to play more."

Brust, who had repeated issues with his groin, added: "Everyone wants to play but part of being a good team mate is realising players cannot play every second of every game.

"Not everybody can play on the power play. Not everybody can play on the penalty kill. You can't do everything by yourself."

Brust said he had made no decision about his future.

Asked if he'd consider coming back to the EIHL, he replied: "Yes, it's certainly something that would interest me, but I haven't made a decison one way or the other whether I am going to play.

"I didn't discuss it with Foxy (coach Aaron Fox). He probably just knows it is something I'd discuss later on, in the Summer."

As for the season, he commented: "I was lucky to have great team mates.

"It (the campaign) kind of petered out at the end, but there is a solid core there in place and it was a great experience for me.

"My mom was born in South Shields and lived there until she was 14 years old so it was nice to go there.

"Foxy is a great coach and I can't say enough about the city of Sheffield and fans they were amazing, always pretty supportive of me and the team.

"If the right opportunity presents itself it is something I would have to look at."

However, there are family considerations.

"It is tough being away from dad. My mother passed away in 2020 and he's getting old and needs a knee replacement, being away from him for extended period of time would be challenging.

"I have a family now too, it's not just a decision about me, it's about a wife and my son."

Brust said he'd enjoyed studying for his MA at Hallam University.

"I was lucky enough to be in school with (team-mate) Kevin Schulze; it was great to work together. That part has been good."

Meanwhile, one of the EIHL's hottest properties, Charlie Combs has left Dundee Stars for Danish side SønderjyskE Ishockey.