Sheffield Steelers’ “water boy” backs new look team

Jonathan Phillips’ new reign as captain of Sheffield Steelers lasted just two practices before an attack of appendicitis put him in a bed a the Northern General.

“The new guys think I am the water boy round here” joked the Welshman, back on his feet again after his unexpected absence.

Jonathan Phillips, yesterday

Jonathan Phillips, yesterday

“I suddenly felt sick and keeled over in pain so I got a taxi to hospital around 1am last Saturday” he says. “There were more serious emergencies so I got bumped back about 24 hours, it was horrible. But I’m ok now and have done a bit of gentle exercise on the treadmill and the bike. If I get a full week’s practice in I’ll target Nottingham Panthers, away, (Sept 20.)”

Phillips has studied the team in practice this week. “I wouldn’t read too much in last Sunday (5-1 friendly defeat at Coventry.) Guys were tired and hadn’t had enough practices.

“The team looks really good, it is quick and hard working. No-one lets up in the drills in practice and I think generally we have upgraded on last year. Also the attitude seems better. We had our ups and downs last year and that got on top of us all at times, but this team looks fresh and upbeat.”

Rod Sarich, back at the club after a year in exile, is also impressed by the new-look team.

“A first glimpse it looks pretty good, a lot of guys that can skate, we have got a pretty good work ethic already. That’s a good combination. But we’ll see how it pans out in the next month. Tyler Mosienko is pretty quick, a small guy who is pretty crafty with the puck, Mathieu Roy is a big strong guy, he muscles guys in the corner, Pascal Morency and Mike Forney can skate.”

Sarich admitted he personally had a “few kinks to work out, technique, holding on to the puck, I am a bit slower to recognise situations, but that comes back pretty quickly.”