FORMER fan favourite Craig Elliott is back with the Sheffield Steeldogs hoping to show supporters a different side to his game.
The 30-year-old spent six seasons with the Steeldogs, part of the roster from day one when the organisation took over as the city's representative in the second-tier from the Scimitars back in 2010.
Regarded more as an agitator than a point producer, Elliott spent six seasons with the team before taking a year out at the end of the 2015-16 campaign. Gradually, he returned to playing, firstly in NIHL 2 with Sheffield Senators before last season hooking up with Sutton Sting where he faced off against former club Steeldogs in NIHL One North.
But while the "tenacity, enthusiasm and commitment" Steeldogs' player-coach Ben Morgan describes as being among Elliott's main attributes remain, the Doncaster-born forward is hoping to bring more to the equation when the new NIHL National season gets underway in mid-September.
“I think my role will be working hard and keeping people honest if needs be," said Elliott. "But I really want to be chipping in with goals as I have found a scoring touch over the past season and I will be working on this with my new line mates.
"I am here to enjoy the hockey and contribute. When you come to the Steeldogs you are here for the team. I want to play my part in a successful team.
“I love what Morgs is about and what the whole club is about. One of the strengths of the whole organisation is togetherness and that is what you need to build your team success."
Morgan said he expected Elliott to surprise spectators on his return to the second-tier of UK hockey.
"We are bringing Craig back to do what he does best," said Morgan. "Not necessarily that old agitating player who gets under the skin of the opposition - although that’s in his style of play and I don’t think he will ever lose that - and I see a different side to his game now.
"If he gets the right line mates and regular ice time, he can be put into positions where he is able to contribute to the offence and will be able to put up some good numbers.
"His passion speaks for itself. He will be the hardest working guy on the ice and we need that tenacity, enthusiasm and commitment. But he’s got wiser as he has got older and will turn a few heads next season and surprise people, who will just expect a certain style of hockey from him."
Elsewhere, Sheffield Steelers have confirmed that they have terminated the contract of forward Brandon Whistle.
The 21-year-old joined the Steelers last summer along with goaltender brother Jackson, who last week left to join the Nottingham Panthers.
Like fellow forward Kieran Brown, Whistle found ice time difficult to come by, particularly under replacement head coach Tom Barrasso and despite the team enduring a disappointing season which saw them finish seventh in the regular season before suffering a first round play-off exit against Cardiff Devils.
In 54 games, Whistle registered a goal and two assists.