Will bigger mean better at Sheffield Steelers?

Dennis Vial, a hefty handfulDennis Vial, a hefty handful
Dennis Vial, a hefty handful
It's no secret that Aaron Fox wants a bigger, heftier defensive corps next season as well as a greater impact around the crease at the other end of the ice.

That alone should enthuse many Sheffield Steelers' fans who want to see more robust, offensive play, without attracting too many penalty minutes

Bigger players don't guarantee wins - but as long as they are team-minded, consistent skaters with an eye for wins, they'll be hugely welcomed hugely in the Arena stands.

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It's about striking the right balance - and as club spokesman Dave Simms points out, there are historical parallels to be drawn, at Sheffield.

Rick Brebant, truly committed playerRick Brebant, truly committed player
Rick Brebant, truly committed player

"Like most fans, I was encouraged when Aaron said we were going to get bigger at the back end" he said.

“I read the comments on social media about the defence needing to be like some of our old defencemen, Dion Darling, Steve Munn, Dennis Vial etc.

"Those guys don’t seem to exist in the modern world and if they did they would be playing somewhere else for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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"Every team in the world is looking for those 'old school guys.'

Matt Petgrave gets stuck in, picture: James AssinderMatt Petgrave gets stuck in, picture: James Assinder
Matt Petgrave gets stuck in, picture: James Assinder

“The world has changed, I don’t think they make Dion Darlings anymore.

“I’d love a Darling at the back end, I’d love a Rick Brebant playing first line centre and Scott Allison playing wing but those days ain’t coming back!

“The NHL isn’t the same as it was, the AHL or the DEL so the British game is no different," said Simms.

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“You can still have stars, heroes, Jeff Legue wasn’t physical and we loved him, Freddie Vestberg, his skills and speed made us love him.

"Guys like Robert Dowd bring intensity, work ethic and emotion and he is as popular as any guy we’ve ever had in Sheffield, as popular as Kenny (Priestlay) Tommy (Plommer) or Cranny (Tim Cranston.)

“Sometimes we all look back and think it was better. But was it really?

“Remember the '96 Grand Slam team? They said it would never be bettered, but then the 2001 team came along.

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"I happen to think the Levi Nelson Play Off winning team of 2017 would have beaten them, the world evolves and so does hockey.

"Norman Hunter and Nobby Stiles were great in football, we remember them but we also remember Keane and Scholes and now Kevin De Bruyne and İlkay Gündogan have come along. Sport evolves.

“Matt Petgrave could have and would have made and played a great role in every team we’ve had since 91, made every championship team, so let's classify him as a great player as well.

"So his offensive 'licence' cost us a few goals at the other end, so didn’t Ron Shudra, Rod Sarich, and Shayne McCosh make those mistakes as well? Of course they did

“As a club we trust Aaron Fox to put a team together with the right balance to bring back the title he knows his job."