Why Sheffield Steelers picked Matt Myers as their No. 1 draftee

Matt Myers can help rectify one of the few weaknesses that Sheffield Steelers struggled with last season - he's a consistent face off winner.

By Bob Westerdale
Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 12:08 pm

Coach Aaron Fox went for the 36-year-old Welshman as his first draft pick during last Monday's selection process.

The veteran centreman's proven ability to win the duel for a dropped puck was a key attraction for the Challenge Cup winners.

Winning the draw means your team gets puck possession and is therefore more in control.

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And Myers, who played for Cardiff Devils in the last EIHL season and Swindon Wildcats in the ongoing NIHL Spring Cup, has the reactions and technique to help Sheffield in next month's elite mini series.

"He is an unbelievable face off guy," said Fox.

"I wanted to add someone who I was going to be very confident in, could win face offs, which we struggled with last year, is a great penalty killer and would be excited to be in Sheffield.

"He's really a defensive role type player, that is his MO.

"You can play him in the last minute of a game, he is very responsible, can play Power Play if needed and is a great penalty killer.

"He is a pro, can be physical, will get in guys' faces, so I think him being there in the draft, for me, was something with the Brits we had was a great pick."

Sheffield captain Jonathan Phillips - a team mate of Myers in the Great Britain roster - played a part in getting Myers interested in joining the side.

"Jono is really tight with Matt so I had him reach out to him, and also to Josh Batch to see where his head was at, and Hewy (Jason Hewitt) to see if he was 100 percent committed.

Matt Myers - king of the draw.

"You don't want to take somebody and them say: 'Yeah I am not interested.' You don't want to waste a pick and they turn up not committed to play.

"It was clear before the draft that Matt was excited about our situation and that was important."

Fox would have selected goaltender Ben Bowns if he'd been granted first draft pick choice on Monday night. The Great Britain goalie was snapped up by Nottingham Panthers.

"Ben Bowns allows you to play with eight imports out, instead of seven with an import goalie. It would have been pretty hard to pass on Bowns, he gives you that flexibility to play with four import forwards and four import D or five and three however you wanted to spin it" said Fox.

Ben Bowns and Jonathan Phillips. Pic by Dean Woolley