Sheffield Steelers: Brett Neumann happy to be man for all situations in 2022-23 Elite League

FORWARD Brett Neumann hopes he can prove to be a man for ‘all situations’ once he hooks up with Sheffield Steelers for the 2022-23 Elite League campaign.

The 23-year-old centre was one of three forwards announced by head coach Aaron Fox on Wednesday, leaving the Steelers boss with only two positions - defence and first-choice goaltender - to confirm.

The Toronto-born centre arrives in South Yorkshire having spent part of last season switch Orli Znojmo in the second tier of the Czech league, but comes highly recommended to Fox from former Steelers’ defenceman Aaron Johnson, who worked with Neumann before he left North America for Europe.

After the 2019-20 hockey season was postponed due to the pandemic, Johnson got himself a job as assistant coach for the Allen Americans in the ECHL the following year.

Brett Neuman grabs the rebound of goalie Jake Lawr of the Erie Otters at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga. Picture: Graig Abel/Getty Images

Neumann posted 12 goals and eight assists in 32 appearances for the Americans in 2020-21, having gone there on the back of an impressive campaign in the OHL the previous season where he recorded 83 points - including 45 goals - in just 62 appearances.

It was Johnson’s promising words and those kind of stats that grabbed Fox’s interest, with an agent friend of the Steelers’ boss being the final piece of the jigsaw in bringing the two together.

“I can play in all situations, I’m a two-way guy,” said Neumann, who was also encouraged by the recommendation of another former Steelers player in the shape of Evan McGrath. “I think people would say that my main feature is my speed and energy, I create space and can jump into holes.

“I’d like to think my work ethic is my big plus-point though, I love to compete and I think all fans appreciate that.

Sheffield Steelers head coach Aaron Fox. Picture: Dean Woolley.

“My agent has a great relationship with Aaron and I guess I was putting my trust in them both and I work out a lot with Evan McGrath who played in Sheffield and he was excited when I signed.

“I’m excited, it’s new challenge for me – I hope I can help the team win a championship.”

Fox believes Neumann has enormous potential to be successful in the EIHL.

“Brett’s a natural centre, but he can play all three forward positions,” said Fox. “I think he will come in and run some big numbers for us.

“He is young and extremely motivated to come in and be a top-end guy.”