David Simms Sheffield Steelers ice hockey column: It's great to see return of John ArmstrongÂ

We were unable to make it through to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup, going down 5-4 at Guildford for an aggregate score over the two legs of 9-8.

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 9:51 am
Updated Thursday, 20th December 2018, 9:58 am
John Armstrong in possession for Steelers

But, we live in exciting times and although the Steelers are far from the finished article, we as a club will keep pressing and keep working to become that team we once were.

If that means more players then that is what we will do.

With Davey Phillips out we have been searching for a defenceman, at this time of year there aren't too many looking to jump ship and join us, maybe after Christmas that will change.

We bought in Eric Neiley, however he was hurt and is out long term, last week we battled like stray dogs to fight off the opposition to bring home John Armstrong.

There were a few nights of little or no sleep as negotiations continued through the night.

We got there in the end and delivered our man, he will be with us next season too.

John gives us a first line centre, a big body that takes pucks to the net. That big body is something we don't have right now.

When I spoke to John about coming home I told him to come back and make this team his. Be the dominant player and personality.

'Don't follow others,' I said. 'Lead this group, this year and next. Be the man, be that guy who says '˜jump on my back boys I'll show you the way.' '

Big John could have gone to clubs in better positions in the league and others in Europe, he could have gone to clubs with promises of a life after hockey.

John chose to come back here to us.

I think the big man wants to be that guy.

Wants to put his mark on this team and this club like others before him have done.

Do it John, do it for your self and all of us cheering you on.

Christmas is a busy time, games just keep popping up. On Saturday 22nd (Vs Guildford), Sunday 23rd(at Glasgow), Wednesday 26th (at Nottingham) Thursday 27th (Vs Nottingham) and then the new year series with Manchester home and away '“ it doesn't stop.

What do I want for Christmas, 'Santa, no injuries please' without Eric and Davey we are already short.

The team that comes out of the holiday period best will be the team that hasn't been decimated by more knocks and injuries.

A slight change this year with Boxing Day being spent in Nottingham, we entertain the Panthers on Thursday 27th, over 9,000 of you will be in the Arena for the biggest game in the Elite League calendar.

Both teams with experienced coaches but neither have been a part of a Christmas series.

Last year we came out on top, 4-0 at home and 5-0 in Nottingham, too much to hope for again isn't it?

A good Christmas for Steelers fans is one when we come out on top of the Panthers, it doesn't matter what presents you have received, if your new jumper fits or whether you like the socks your Mom bought you '“ irrelevant,  it's all about beating those so and sos.

See you at the Arena on the 22nd, 27th and 29th ... why would you want to miss it?