The oddest Sheffield Steelers interview Jono Phillips ever gave..

Jonathan Phillips in serious mode against Nottingham Panthers
Jonathan Phillips in serious mode against Nottingham Panthers
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Jonathan Phillips - a Sheffield Steelers player the club and its fans will always be proud of.

On Tuesday night, fans thoroughly enjoyed his testimonial game, featuring club legends of yesteryear.

Programme

Programme

One memorable sight was Ben O’Connor attempting to emulate Phillips’s skating style - a sort of Roadrunner meets Brent Bobyck.

And the match-night programme wasn’t too shabby.

Here is one of the feature articles: a Q&A interview with The Star which is decidedly off the wall...

1: Ever wondered how many testimonials you have played in - and when did you start to think, ‘One day, that might be me?’

I have played in a lot that’s for sure, Cardiff used to hand them out like sweets back in the day. I suppose I only started to think about whether I would ever have one a couple of years ago.

2: Can you remember anything particularly funny or noteworthy that happened in somebody else’s testimonial?

Haha yes it was Jason Stone’s Testimonial (Cardiff Devil legend and good friend). Dave Matsos and I were driving down together as we got on the M1 I realised that I forgotten my phone charger so we turned back to get it. Finally on our way and we get 10 mins outside Cardiff and I then realise that I forgotten my entire kit. Stoney was so mad, I played though and I think I wore some equipment that Steve Moria first brought over to the UK.

3: Ice hockey players suffer terrible injuries. Is that what happened with your nose - a hideous break which couldn’t be fully fixed?

Well, not a lot of people know this but I feel you all should know the truth...I do not have a big nose but a really small head. Its all an illusion!!!!!

4: You are a proud Welshman - is there a part of you that wants to join in singing: ‘en Wlad Fy Nhadau’ when the fans belt it out at Cardiff Devils?

Yeah definitely! It’s a brilliant anthem.

5: What was the personality of the young JP that signed for Cardiff Rage in 1997-98- were you a shy schoolboy who failed terribly at school and were rejected by all the hotties?

I was pretty laid back just like I am now I guess, and I must of been doing something right as I met my wife Kirsty the year after.

6: You played two games for England Under-18/20 Team in 2000 - is that because you, deep down, wanted to be English?

I did give it a thought for a second but I decided against it as it costs way too much to drive over the Severn Bridge.

7: Your first excursion away from Cardiff was a position in the Basingstoke Bison line-up. What fascinated you about Boringstoke? Did nobody tell you that Basingstoke railway station’s gents’ toilet was bombed by the IRA in 1993, just to liven the town up?

Haha Basingstoke had some injuries at the time and approached me to go on a 2-way for the remainder of the season. I got the best of both worlds as I was training with the Devils in the ISL everyday and playing games in the BNL on the weekends just like as Liam and Cole are doing now.

8: The first Sheffield Steelers team you joined had Dan Tessier in it. Was this not enough for you to go back to Basingstoke?

You know Brits rule the room Bob!

9: You were fifth highest scorer that year. Are you sure it was you?

I must have blacked out, I don’t know what happened………..

10: What was David Matsos like as a coach - what summed up his leadership style?

He was very much a Players’ Coach. Every time you played for him you didn’t want to let him down. He knew how to get the best out of everyone.

11: A guy called Jody Lehman was in net. He is the best Steelers goalie you’ve played in front of?

He definitely was a major reason for the trophies that we won during those years. Probably the hardest competitor I have ever played with or against so you could say one of the best this league has ever had.

12: When did you become captain, who asked you and can you remember the conversation and your thoughts?

Matty approached me when Maltby got injured during my first season here. I think he told me whilst skating around at the beginning of practice, He just said Malts is out for awhile and you’re gonna take over. I thought “oh sh*t”. It did feel weird as I was only 23 but I enjoyed the responsibility.

13: In 2008-9 Steelers recruited Brad Cruikshank. And then traded him to the dreaded Basingstoke. In 2009-10 Steelers recruited Brad Cruikshank. And then sent him to Coventry Blaze. Was it something he said?

Shanker was a great guy he really strengthened our team, after he arrived we went on to win the league. For some reason the year after didn’t go so smoothly for any of us and he ended up in Coventry where he won the league again.

14: Ben Simon worked under difficult circumstances at Steelers. He’s gone on to good things. Got any anecdotes that sum up his reign?

With the club being a bit of a rollercoaster that season, Ben came in and steadied the ship and brought a new era of professionalism to the team. He was a fantastic guy and family man who brought us all together under difficult times. I can’t say enough good things about him.

15: R.G. Flath played alongside you in 2011. I can’t remember him. With a name like that, shouldn’t he have been an author instead? Ditto Francis Trudel. Didn’t he invent a type of layered pastry with an apple filling?

Not too sure; they didn’t speak a whole lot.

16: If you found yourself sat next to Donald Trump, and got the chance to say or ask him something, what would it be?

I wouldn’t say anything, I would just dare Hewy to go pull his hair to see if its a wig.

17: Which one of these people is least likely to have a university degree: 1: Jason Hewitt. 2: Steve Munn. 3: Jason Hewitt.

Or 4: Mark Thomas

18: What is the stand out moment of your GB career?

There are lots to choose from but I’ll say when we won in Japan to qualify for the final round of the Olympic qualifiers. I think as a team that was the tightest group of guys we ever had and that was the main reason that we qualified. I have to mention the Silver medal in Ukraine too - we were 6 minutes from promotion to Pool A when Kazahkstan tied the game against Ukraine giving us the Silver instead of Gold. But for a moment we all thought we were going to pool A.

19: Multiple choice: How many seasons have you got left in your bones: 1) Lots. 2) None. 3) As many as I can because I don’t have a job lined up like Hewy had.

Lots

20: If you were to describe your Sheffield Steelers career in one word....what would it be?

Life Changing ( couldn’t do it in one word )