Influential Sheffield Steelers winger likely to be rewarded with team honour

Guillaume Desbiens and boxing pal Joss Paul, who fights next at Barnsley Metrodome on July 8.

Guillaume Desbiens and boxing pal Joss Paul, who fights next at Barnsley Metrodome on July 8.

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Guillaume Desbiens could be in line for a ‘promotion’ after helping to alter the course of Sheffield Steelers’ championship winning season.

The Canadian power winger, 31, brought in some much needed steel and grit into Paul Thompson’s team when he joined the injury-hit roster in late November, from Olimpija Ljubljana in the Austrian league.

His immediately commitment to the Steeler cause - and willingness to drop the gloves when necessary - quickly made him popular with team-mates and fans alike.

Now Thompson is mulling over increasing his involvement.

The coach will keep Jonathan Phillips as captain, while Zack Fitzgerald and Mathieu Roy should retain their assistant captaincy roles. Which leaves the slot occupied by Russ Moyer, who was not invited back for next season’s assault on the titles.

Thompson said: “Desbiens changed our season when he came, he is a player with a winning attitude. It will be good to have him with for a full year.

“He is the first who will throw himself into front of a puck to stop a goal and always plays forward with an edge.

“Like Roy and Fitzy he has great leadership.”

Phillips is in his testimonial year with the club, after ten seasons at Sheffield.

But there is no sign of the right winger slowing down.

“If anything Jono is going the other way” said Thompson.

“He is a fitness fanatic and keeps himself in phenomenal shape - the harder we make it for him in training the more he seems to like it.

“I thought Jono was the best I have ever seen him down the stretch at the end of last season, making great plays and great goals.

“He is a player who has just got better and better. He embraces his role whether it is penalty kill or anything else we throw at him.

“As a captain he is not a screamer or a shouter but he knows how to get his point across. One hundred per cent sure he will be our captain again this year...his experience will be invaluable again.”

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