Who is Sheffield Steelers' Most Improved Player? Barry Brust knows

The end-of-season vote on who will be crowned Sheffield Steelers' 'Most Valuable Player' will be a tough decision to make.
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Will it be the ever-dangerous Marco Vallerand, who so frequently helps Steelers out of a hole? Or Evan Mosey, who effortlessly pops up in just about any role other than goaltending. Or what about Daine Todd, who should arguably be playing at a higher level?

Don't rule out netminder Rok Stojanovic, either.

He arrived on a "short-term try-out" and has stood tall in goal for 1,423 minutes, compared to Barry Brust's 949.

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It's a difficult choice, which tells you something about the quality of players on the league-leading side.

But one other end-of-season player-category might not be so challenging, that of 'Most Improved Player.'

That seems to have Sam Jones' name all over it.

He had a difficult start to the season but came on leaps and bounds to earn coach Aaron Fox's trust.

Seffield Steelers' Sam Jones fires in a shotSeffield Steelers' Sam Jones fires in a shot
Seffield Steelers' Sam Jones fires in a shot

His ice time, which hadn't been particularly generous, suddenly went through the roof.

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Jones' confidence had soared after seeking therapy for mental health challenges - an intimately personal area which he and Justin Hodgman have both opened up about in The Star, recently.

Brust, the goaltender who closely monitors those who play in front of him and Stojanovic, was impressed by the honesty demonstrated by both.

"They have got more b*lls, than I do," he said.

Sheffield Steelers' Sam Jones celebrates a goal. Picture: Scott WigginsSheffield Steelers' Sam Jones celebrates a goal. Picture: Scott Wiggins
Sheffield Steelers' Sam Jones celebrates a goal. Picture: Scott Wiggins

"The courage that they have shown! I think Hodgy has done a great job in the last few games and really improved his play.

"I think Jonesey has been our Most Improved Player for the year. In the first couple of games he struggled, since then we have really relied on him.

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"I think he has been a stalwart part of our defence after four or five games, hats off to those guys they definitely have more courage than I have."

Hodgman is pondering retirement after seeing a possible new coaching career back in north America.

Brust hasn't reached that stage yet.

"Plans always change so I don't make any," he says.

"I haven't even thought about it, I have a family now so it is not just a 'me decision' it's a 'we decision.'

He said it was hard to be away from his father but added: "We'll see, you never know."

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It would not be "that big a deal" to stay in Europe, said the 38-year-old Canadian.

Brust could be in goal on Saturday night as Sheffield take on Manchester Storm at the Arena.

Steelers have inflicted some big defeats at Altrincham, 8-3 and 7-4, while the home games have both ended in a closer 5-3 profit for Fox's men.

Carter Beston-Will, Fox's assistant, says Storm can play a passive game while their own style is fast and aggressive.

"We are getting the job done, bottom-line," he said, while adding they would take nothing for granted.