Why Sheffield Steelers topped the list for nomad Justin Hodgman

Justin Hodgman will be a man on a mission when he pulls on the Steelers' jersey for the first time.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 1:23 pm
Justin Hodgman has signed for Sheffield Steelers
Justin Hodgman has signed for Sheffield Steelers

The new centreman - possibly the biggest Sheffield ice hockey signing of the Summer - says he is ready to "take charge" and help bring a championship to the club in his first year.

The Canadian-born former NHLer has played for teams in six different countries in the last seven years but says Sheffield topped the list when he researched which EIHL team he'd want to represent.

Asked about the nomadic lifestyle he's been on since 2016, Hodgman said some teams had not been an ideal fit for him and he'd also had a hunger to explore.

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"There are always a lot of factors to consider when picking a team and a league," he told The Star.

"Sometimes you have down years and you're not welcomed back, and other times you have successful years and you want to move up in leagues and get tested more.

"I would also say my love for travel and wanting to experience different countries and lifestyles and hockey styles also played a major factor in my decision making for where I ended up."

His last team was Ferencvárosi TC in Hungary.

"FTC and I mutually agreed to part ways. I had known for a while that I would explore a new destination for next season" the forward explained.

"I did have a good amount of interest all throughout Europe this off-season. But I've had my heart set on Sheffield since last summer.

"I was confident we would get this done, and couldn't be more happy with the decision."

So what specifically swung his decision to opt for the Steelers?

"Everything that I've heard about the organisation has been top notch," he said.

"I spoke to a lot of players that have played in the EIHL before, and Sheffield always seemed to top the list.

"The major factors were the facilities, the way the coaching staff handles their players, and the fan base.

I don't know much about the city of Sheffield away from the rink, but I can't wait to explore."

Hodgman's playing style should excite fans at the Arena, when the sport resumes there after the lockdown.

"I would consider myself a high energy, play-making centre, who is responsible at both ends" says the 33-year-old.

"I take pride in taking charge of whatever line I'm on, and doing whatever I can to spark my linemates.

"I also take great pride in my defensive zone play, and my teammates can always expect me to be responsible on the defensive side of the puck."