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Gold-medal showing underscores Phillips’s value to Sheffield Steelers

STICKING AROUND: Sheffield Steelers' captain, Jonathan Phillips. Picture: Dean Woolley
STICKING AROUND: Sheffield Steelers' captain, Jonathan Phillips. Picture: Dean Woolley
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HE MAY be turning 36 this summer, but Sheffield Steelers’ captain Jonathan Phillips is showing no signs of slowing down.

Steelers’ head coach Paul Thompson’s mind will have already been made up in terms of bringing the Welsh-born forward back to Sheffield Arena for at least one more year.

GOLDEN TIME: Sheffield Steelers famous five with the World Championship Division 1A trophy in Budapest (left to right): Davey Phillips, Jonathan Phillips, Robert Dowd, Ben O'Connor and Liam Kirk. Picture: Dean Woolley.

GOLDEN TIME: Sheffield Steelers famous five with the World Championship Division 1A trophy in Budapest (left to right): Davey Phillips, Jonathan Phillips, Robert Dowd, Ben O'Connor and Liam Kirk. Picture: Dean Woolley.

But Phillips’s relentless performances in leading Great Britain to World Championship gold in Budapest last month and, with it, promotion to the top tier of international ice hockey emphasised how valuable a piece he is in anyone’s team.

Phillips first joined the Steelers from Cardiff Devils in 2006 and took over the captaincy a year later. He holds the club record for most appearances – now at 759 – while scoring 143 goals and 256 assists.

“He is the best captain I’ve ever had,” said Thompson after confirming that Phillips would be back to lead the 2018-19 campaign.

“He is a man who cares about the values of the Steelers and the glue that holds many things together here. The work ethic he brings to the rink every day is contagious. His fitness levels are off the chart and his desire remains the same today as when I first met him – we are lucky to have him here.”

He is the glue that holds many things together here. The work ethic he brings to the rink every day is contagious. His fitness levels are off the chart and his desire remains the same today as when I first met him

Paul Thompson on Sheffield Steelers’ captain Jonathan Phillips

Phillips has generally enjoyed a trophy-laden time in South Yorkshire, lifting the league title and play-off trophy four times apiece.

Last season represented a rare barren campaign for both player and club, something the popular winger is keen to return and put right during the 20918-19 campaign.

“I don’t want to go anywhere else,” he said. “This is my club and everyone knows just how much I care for this place.

“We all do our best day-in and day-out to put in the maximum effort to provide the fans with a winning team.

INTERNATIONAL RESCUE: Jonathan Phillips, right, has a chat with GB netminder Ben Bowns. Picture: Dean Woolley.

INTERNATIONAL RESCUE: Jonathan Phillips, right, has a chat with GB netminder Ben Bowns. Picture: Dean Woolley.

“Most years we have been successful and we will aim to be once again next season.”

The Steelers have also confirmed that back-up netminder Brad Day will return for 2018-19, with Thompson adding: “Brad has had limited ice time.

“We feel he has got to be knocking on the door to gain more game time, which he is more than capable of doing.”