BRENDAN BROOKS plans to use his vast experience to lead by example in order to help Sheffield Steelers turn their stuttering season around.
The 39-year-old forward may not exactly fit in with the notion of the younger roster that Steelers’ head coach Paul Thompson strived so hard to put together in the summer – but if his last three seasons in the Elite League are anything to go by, he could have a positive impact.
The GB international – who is hoping to earn himself a spot on Pete Russell’s roster for next year’s ‘Pool A’ World Championship campaign in Slovakia – jets into the UK tomorrow morning, just in time to don his skates for the evening Challenge Cup encounter at Manchester Storm.
The arrival of Brooks follows the release earlier this week of twins Matt and Ryan Rupert, who produced just one assist between them in six games, Thompson deciding urgent changes needed making in the wake of Sunday’s 5-1 defeat at Guildford Flames.
Brooks, who last season posted his best-ever Elite League points haul at Glasgow Clan with 32 goals and 30 assissts in 60 appearances, said: “Right now I think the coach is just keen to get some alternate scoring in – that’s something I’ve been able to do over the years and I hope I can help the team find the spark to put us in the right direction.
“For me it is about winning this year, whether that is with me scoring or playing physical. I’m not a big guy, but I like playing the body and being hard to play against. I hope to lead by example and get some of the younger guys doing the same thing. And if they see a guy like me doing it, there’s no reason that they can’t.”
Thompson said Brooks’s desire to represent GB at a third straight world championships – particularly a tournament where he will play against some of the world’s best players – meant the former Fife Flyers and Clan forward had an added incentive to produce the goods for the Steelers.
“Brendan is an older.experienced guy who skates like the wind and we need to add some offence, we need to add some natural scoring to our line-up,” said Thompson. “We didn’t get it from the Ruperts when we thought we would do, so we draw a line under that and move on by bringing in Brendan.
“He is a proven goal-scorer in this leagueand he is the kind of player who thinks he should always have been playing at a club like ours.
“I know how desperate he is to play in that Pool A world championships next year, but only by having a good year with us will he secure a spot on that GB roster.”
I hope to lead by example and get some of the younger guys doing the same thing. And if they see a guy like me doing it, there’s no reason that they can’t.Brendan Brooks