Tag Archives: Sheffield Steelers

From the Pen of an Unbiased Fan

November 5th, Skydome Arena and I’m back in block 7. It’s my old stomping ground here, where I started out, cheering for the Steelers in 2015. Only this time I’m cheering on one of my favourites, Miika Wiikman and the rest of the MK Lightning.

Now, let me tell you. In the three seasons that I have been an EIHL fan I have cheered for most of the teams. I love the Elite League, there are no underdogs here. Any team can win on any given night

From the first game I was drawn to the netminders. Firstly, it was Tyler Plante of the Sheffield Steelers and then Brian Stewart, formerly of the Coventry Blaze and now playing for the Guildford Flames.

Last season, while playing for the Nottingham Panthers I found myself drawn to our starting goalie Miika. It was only after watching a good few games and with the rise of my own blog Chasing The Puck, I decided I wanted to interview as many of the Elite League goalies as I could. I wanted to try and break down some of the long held beliefs about them. Namely, that goalies are a bit weird and get to know the men behind the metal cages. Those guys who defend our pipes.

I find watching a goalies play fascinating. They have a way about them that no other outfield player has. Be it the pre-game preparation of Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby or the steely concentration caught on camera by the most talented of the league photographers or the slide – side to side across the goal line – to gauge the distance and the range of movement they’ll need or even the tap of the stick off each post before play begins. There is something I find truly mesmerising.

From Coventry to Cardiff, Belfast to Braehead I have yet to find a goalie who wasn’t open and honest about the pressures they feel when on or off the ice. Whether that be Wiikman discussing the importance of good coaching in his youth or Brython Preece discussing the scary move away from home aged 15 to go and join the Ontario Hockey Academy.
I have interviewed players of all nationalities and each have their own unique style of play that I believe it differs depending on the place they got their training.

I have spoken to eight different goalies in the EIHL, although Mike Clemente, Stewart and Wiikman all come to mind, especially when ‘knocking off the nets’ comes up on a fan forum on the web.
I asked Miika about it after a particularly heated debate on facebook. He sends me a laughing emoji and tells me that only twice in his career has he knocked the net off on purpose. Later the same evening, after the game he played (in which the net came off it’s moorings a couple of times) he tells me I must have jinxed it!

My own personal feeling is this; I believe it depends on the style of play. If a goalie has trained in North America and Canada, their style of play is such that they can lean more on the posts as they are deeper into the ice there than they are in our own league. It’s the nature of the way they are brought up and this possibly could explain why the American Clemente and Canadian Stewart, are considered to be the worst offenders. Though a recent incident with Clemente and a dive at his own goal could definitely be considered deliberate!

Away from the ice, these guys are family orientated. Clemente for example comes from a large family of six boys so he says family time is so precious. He’s also the goalie that spends much of his travelling time napping, reading or eating. Learning to sleep in noisy places is a valuable skill, probably learned while trying to sleep back home in a busy house.

Cardiff goalie Ben Bowns talks about his dog Stitch, who comes to the arena and is fussed by staff and players alike. Stitch loves nothing more than his time in the dressing room. He’ll even get grumpy if Ben walks the long way around so as to avoid the dressing room!

Gary Russell, told me how as a youngster he had a serious Irn Bru problem and likes his tea, Yorkshire style, with milk and two sugars. His celeb man crush is David Beckham and the first thing he picks up after an away game? A piece of pizza! If you meet Moose in a bar, don’t buy him a beer. He doesn’t like how it tastes. Instead buy him an apple juice and ask about his cats.

You learn really interesting things about each player if you ask the right questions. Nothing is too silly or too obvious. I have laughed and joked with a fair few of them. To say that interviewing them has brought me confidence as a journalist would be an understatement. Goalies are some of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and it’s why they will always be my absolute favourite.


This article was originally published in the December issue of MK Lightning’s matchnight program and has been republished here, with permission, now the magazine is no longer in print. All images are my own other than the photo of Ben Bowns, which belongs to its rightful owner and has not been used here for profit in any way.


There’s a guy in Canada who’s mentions are being messed up by Steelers Hockey fans 

All fans of Mathieu Roy, or generally any Steelers fans. Through a minor blunder by one or many fans, Sheffield Steelers are being discussed by this guy on twitter!

And apparently you don’t want this Mathieu Roy on your team… 

If you’re looking to tag Sheffield Steelers Mathieu Roy in your tweets, try the handle @roysythecat however I’ve been informed that he might not be using it anymore. 

Behind the Mask #6 | Ervins Mustukovs: Sheffield Steelers

Ervins Mustukovs, Latvian native and two time player for the Sheffield Steelers. The 32 year old netminder came back to Sheffield at the beginning of this season after being invited by coach Paul Thompson with an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Continue reading Behind the Mask #6 | Ervins Mustukovs: Sheffield Steelers

Them Over There | Getting to know the Sheffield Steelers Zack Fitzgerald (#OnFire Repost)

Zack Fitzgerald, or Fitzy as he’s so often reffered to as, is a player who divides opinion. Some fans love him (particularly those in Orange!) and some cannot stand him. To look at his stats he doesn’t look like much. Two goals this season so far and not quite as penalty minutes as his fellow Steeler Guillaume Desbiens, some might argue that he’s simply there to rile up the opposition and cause them to make mistakes.

Continue reading Them Over There | Getting to know the Sheffield Steelers Zack Fitzgerald (#OnFire Repost)

NEWS: Sheffield Steelers boss Tony Smith makes his views abundantly clear!

Earlier on today the Sheffield Steelers released an official statement on their website in regards to two main issues which had had many fans taking to twitter to express their extreme displeasure.

Continue reading NEWS: Sheffield Steelers boss Tony Smith makes his views abundantly clear!

Guillaume Desbiens | The Finer Points of being an Ice Guardian and a Parent

Guillaume Desbiens joined the EIHL’s Sheffield Steelers in November of 2015. Coming from Slovenia with his wife Alexa and young daughter Olive, he’d been told good things about the team by long-term friend Zack Fitzgerald and others from the Steel City side. In this interview we discuss how he juggles the role of enforcer, in the light of the new release of Ice Guardians and also his role of Papa, to three year old Olive.

Continue reading Guillaume Desbiens | The Finer Points of being an Ice Guardian and a Parent

Looking back and to the Future

I began this blog very late in the season, it’s only officially been up and running for a couple of months and so far we have achieved so much. From next to no one reading to having nearly 150 followers on Facebook. The support has been amazing, thank you so much to everyone that has followed us in some way and who reads and shares the articles we write for you. I do what I do for love of the sport in all forms, but to have what we write so well received by you all makes it all very much worth it.

I now have two great co-writers who help me provide you with some great interviews and insights into the players of the EIHL. Aimee and Beth have been invaluable in helping me do so much more than I could have ever thought possible by myself.

In such a short time we have accrued quite a few great interviews for you to read. We have covered the Coventry Blaze, Cardiff Devils and Sheffield Steelers of the EIHL as well as the Sheffield Steeldogs of the EPL. Players such as Zack Fitzgerald and Chris Bruton have given us some insight into their time playing in the Elite League.  Ben O’Connor, Josh Godfrey, Ben Bowns, and Andrew Hotham gave us two minutes of their time and the Coventry Blaze’s very own Brian Stewart is the first of the leagues netminders to allow us Behind the Mask.

In the coming months we’ll be going Behind the Masks of Ben Bowns and also Gary Russell of the Braehead Clan, so keep an eye out for those.

If there is anything you’d like to see us do, drop us a comment on here or facebook and we’ll try our hardest for you all.

Thanks for your support in these first few months and we look forward to many many more!