Dave Simms’ Ice Hockey column: Meet Eddy - the new hero of the Sheffield Steelers

Cullen Eddy - Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils 27/09/14
Cullen Eddy - Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils 27/09/14

I remember standing in Meadowhall in 1991, realising that the shopkeepers hated the Steelers that day.

And the reason was simple: the whole of Meadowhall came to a standstill as the Steelers celebrated promotion.

Thousands upon thousands of fans flocked to Meadowhall to see the team - but mostly to see the first Steelers superstar, Ron Shudra.

In the 23 years that have followed I guess no player has equalled the stardom, popularity and hero status of ‘Rocket Ron’. But many Steeler players have held a special and popular place in our sporting hearts.

It’s very common for us ‘Old Steelers people’ to harp back to what we call the good old days. We bore the modern day fans with stories about Plommer, Cranston and Nemeth.

How many times do we tell the story of Ken Priestlay’s five goals in Nottingham to win the 1995 league championship? They were great days, great times - but those times do move on and, to the fans of today, new heroes arrive. Go back a few years, and Mike Peron was a Steelers superstar alongside the likes of Darling, Norris, Allison, Simpson and Gordon.Move on a short while and those fans just finding hockey and the Steelers would walk over ground glass for the likes of the great Joey Talbot, Steve Munn , Jody Lehman and, of course, the incredible Jeff Legue.

The Steelers of today are also the stars of the day, especially the British contingent of Messrs Dowd, Phillips, Thomas, Hill and, more so than ever, Jason Hewitt.

On Sunday last week the chant of ‘Eddy, Eddy, Eddy’ rang around Hull Ice Arena after the Steelers’ new boy Cullen Eddy assisted, then scored and then fought for his new Sheffield side.

The Eddy chant has been going around the arena since his fist game.

There was something different, special about this young American.

From the moment he won his first man of the match award and then shot off around the rink acknowledging all the fans with his ‘hot lap’ - now mandatory for all man of the match awards - and named the ‘Eddy’.

Eddy was kicked out of the Hull game in the dying minutes after his scrap. And as the remaining Steelers players left the ice Eddy was there, high-fiving his team mates after victory.

Mike Forney chanted ‘Eddy, Eddy, Eddy...’ and the whole team joined in as they marched past hundreds of disgruntled Hull fans.

Moments later, inside the dressing room, the walls shook as an excited and vociferous team again chanted their new team-mate’s name.

There is no getting away from it: Cullen Eddy is a new Steelers superstar.

A week ago, after another Steelers victory, over 500 fans waited up to an hour and a half to obtain a photo and a signature of Eddy. His long beard, similar to those of Hewitt, Kohn and Roy, is now imitated by Steelers fans arriving at the arena for every Steelers game. He might never bring Meadowhall to a standstill like Ron Shudra did, but there are many similarities.

Ron’s main gift was that he connected, and still does. Eddy connects with people, media, fans, team mates.

He is young, popular, heart and soul and, a little unlike Rocket Ron, he quitelikes a scrap - something all hockey fans find appealing.

Don’t worry about this chap getting ahead of himself with this fame and popularity, though.

There are enough veterans inside the Steelers camp who will bring him down to earth if the need arises - not that I think it will.

Whilst the hockey, and the winning remains the most important thing - and I believe to Cullen Eddy it does - then the Steelers, and their thousands of fans, will only benefit and enjoy being a part of the Eddy era.

Already signed for two years, already studying at the University of Sheffield for his MBA Masters degree, I think the sporting city of Sheffield, has a new Steelers superstar and it looks like he will be around a while.

‘Eddy, Eddy, Eddy...’