Sheffield Steelers players have certainly had a successful Christmas so far – picking up a double-header victory over arch rivals Nottingham before seeing off Manchester Storm.
But that didn’t stop the nerves even after the final buzzer sounded at the Fly DSA Arena on Saturday as some of the team prepared to brave the shave for a breast cancer charity and to support a family close to the team.
Ben O’Connor, fellow defenceman Aaron Johnson, joined captain Jonathan Phillips, wingers Robert Dowd and Tanner Eberle, and media manager David Simms in having their heads shaved after the 6-4 victory.
And when Manchester coach and former Steelers favourite Ryan Finnerty set a £500 target to join in, fans literally threw cash onto the ice and raised more than £2,000 in just five minutes.
The head shave was in aid of Prevent Breast Cancer, the chosen charity of Vicki Thomas, wife of Steelers’ veteran Mark Thomas, who played for the team for 10 years.
Vicki is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer, so the Steelers decided to ‘brave the shave' to support the family and give back to them as a thanks for all they have done for the team.
Great Britain international Ben O’Connor said: “It was an easy ask.
“The guys were only too willing to help. Some of us, of course, knew and played with Mark here and some didn’t have a clue who he was but just wanted to help
“I know the fans will stick around after the game to watch this.
“I’m a little nervous but it’s nothing compared to what our friend Vic and many other women are going through so please support us by donating.”
A sponsorship page for the head shaves has raised more than £6,300 so far, with more than £2,500 donated in cash on the night.
The event pushes the amount Vicki has raised for Prevent Breast Cancer Care to more than £22,000.
Steelers’ Captain Jonathan Phillips said: “As soon as Mark told us about Vic we all immediately wanted to support her and the family.
“It’s a horrible illness but it’s treatable and Vic is getting the best treatment available right now.
“I think we all remember how much Mark and his family gave to the Steelers, Vic was a big part of that so this is the very least we can do to support her.”
SIV boss Dom Stokes also joined the Steelers for the charity head shave.
For more information or to donate the JustGiving page.