Welcome home: a player who once put Steel into Sheffield Steelers

Willy - taking no nonsense.
Willy - taking no nonsense.

Rob Wilson was what sports fans in this part of the world would term a "big lump."

It's not a criticism. Quite the reverse, in fact.

Wilson, Priestlay and Chinn in the Arena tunnel

Wilson, Priestlay and Chinn in the Arena tunnel

It's an observation that the sportsman in question is tall, strong, had prowess...and wasn't going to be easily beaten.

That pretty much sums up Rob Wilson's tour of duty on the Sheffield Steelers' blue line, on and off from 1994 to 2000/

He may have been big, but he was mobile, too.

He'd stop pucks, repel unwanted visitors to the net and join the rush if he could.

Wilson and Cranston

Wilson and Cranston

Willy joined a Steelers team 23 years ago that had strong characters in the form of Steve Nemeth, Tim Cranston, Tommy Plommer, Ron Shudra and Mike O'Connor.

But it didn't take long to put his own personal stamp on the dressing room.

He went on to become club skipper and is a player most long-serving Sheffield Arena fans will recall with a huge dollop of sentimentality.

Rob may have brushed some people up the wrong way - he wasn't one to keep his views to himself.

Wilson and O'Connor

Wilson and O'Connor

But he was a Steeler, through and through.

On Saturday, he returns to Sheffield with his German DEL side Nurnberg Ice Tigers, whom he know coaches with some aplomb.

Many fans at iceSheffield won't be old enough to remember this big lump - but for those who are, here are a few pictures to recall those good old days.

And if you are feeling old reading this here is something else to chew on...his old team-mate of that era Ken Priestlay turns 50 years old in eight days time!

Wilson advises the ref

Wilson advises the ref

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Rob Wilson = as much a Scot as a Canadian

Rob Wilson = as much a Scot as a Canadian