Winning 'can be contagious' for Sheffield Steelers

Justin Hodgman may be a new boy in Sheffield Steelers' ranks - but his linemates are more than ready to fill any gaps in his knowledge as the Canadian embarks on his first season in the EIHL.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 10:39 am

The forward has been centring a line with Robert Dowd (607 Steeler appearances) and Tanner Eberle (145.)

Whatever he doesn't know - they will fill him in.

Hodgman has enjoyed joining the formation. He has scooped five points from four games.

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He said: "They obviously have a lot of familiarity with each other. And I think I fit in well. You can tell the chemistry was there, from day one in training camp. A lot of speed, I think we play the game the same way. I love playing with them I think we'll just keep getting better."

Sheffield have won all their Elite League and Challenge Cup games so far and Hodgman, 33, scored his first goal for the team last Saturday, at the Arena, against Manchester Storm.

"That was a big one," he said, revealing that the face off and run-up to the goal had been carefully choreographed in training.

"Toddy (Daine Todd) made a great pass. I had an empty net."

Looking forward, the former Arizona Coyotes' player said he hoped for a winning season: "We are just going to take it one game at a time...keep things rolling, winning is contagious and hopefully we can keep going."

Hodgman played 112 matches in the Russian KHL and looks back at that period in his life with relish.

"Some guys struggle over there, you see a lot of turnovers. You really have to adapt to their way of life, and a lot of it is not what you are used to.

"If you can adapt and you pay their way of life respect then they will respect you more and you can take it a long way."

Justin Hodgman en route to goal. Pic Scott Wiggins

He said he could have stayed a lot longer in Russia.

"I turned down a significant contract only because I had the opportunity to go to the NHL.

"Had that call not come from the Coyotes, I would have stayed there for multiple years.

"It's extremely good hockey and I felt very privileged to have two years under my belt there."

Justin Hodgman at Coventry, Pic Scott Wiggins

Last season, he represented Ferencvárosi TC in Hungary, where he played alongside current Steeler Keaton Ellerby.

"We'd played against each other in the AHL, he had a lot more time in the NHL than I did.

"Usually I normally have a good rapport with the majority of the players on the other team...I like to keep it loose. So we would see each other around."

Now, he said, he was "extremely thankful" for his friendship with Ellerby.

As a player, Hodgman rates Ellerby highly.

"He is way up there, with his hockey IQ. The way he can take away time and space, his attitude, he is great in the room. I just can't say enough good things."

Andreas Valdix back in the EIHL Puc: Dean Woolley

Former Steeler Andreas Valdix has signed for Cardiff Devils after the Welsh club placed forward Brandon McNally on injured reserve, allowing them to sign an additional short-term non-homegrown player for 21 days.

Valdix played 126 times for Steelers, scoring 106 points.

Devils' coach Jarrod Skalde said: "We are pleased to be able to sign a quality player like Andreas on short notice. He brings a lot of experience at the EIHL level and has played previously in the Champions League with the Steelers."