Aaron Fox makes case for the defence at Sheffield Steelers

SHEFFIELD STEELERS' boss Aaron Fox believes he has a defensive corps as strong as any other the Elite League will have to offer this season.

Aaron Johnson is one of a six-strong defensive unit at Sheffield Steelers that head coach Aaron Fox can match up with any other in the league. Picture: Dean Woolley.

The new head coach and GM was speaking after confirming the signing of the last member of his blue line corps on Friday morning with Aaron Brocklehurst added to an already impressive list of names which has seen Swede Jonas Liwing and Canadian/German dual national James Bettauer join Davey Phillips, Aaron Johnson and Ben O'Connor.

Brocklehurst makes the switch to South Yorkshire for his first taste of the UK top-flight having spent four seasons in the EBEL, where he came to Fox's attention over the last two years when the Steelers boss was in charge at Medvescak Zagreb and Canadian-born Brocklehurst was playing for Vienna Capitals and EHC Linz.

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“With this signing I think we have six defencemen that can match up against any other six in this league," said Fox, who also has apprentice blue liner Jordan Griffin to call on.

NEW FACE: Defenceman Aaron Brocklehurst completes Aaron Fox's blue line quota for Sheffield Steelers ahead of the 2019-20 Elite League season. Picture supplied by Sheffield Steelers.

"We will try a few different combinations in practice but think this will allow us to keep Ben O'Connor and Davey Phillips together to start the year as well and we can give Benny some match-ups where he can play the style of game which suits him.

“Aaron is a very skilled, two-way defenceman that skates really well and plays the game the right way. He seems to let the game come to him and always making good, smart decisions and can also play against other team’s top players.

“He led his team in play-off scoring for a D-man the year they won the EBEL championship in Vienna and his character will be a huge positive to our room.”

After turning professional in 2008, Brocklehurst joined Florida Everblades in the ECHL and split his time between them and rivals Victoria Salmon Kings, as well as playing up for a handful of games in the AHL with the Lake Erie Monsters.Another season split between two teams in the ECHL followed - Gwinnett Gladiators and Reading Royals - before he opted for his first taste of Europe in 2010 when he joined Lukko in the Finnish Elite League, switching to rivals Penguins mid-season where he also spent the following year before moving to Wolfsburg in the German DEL in 2012.He remained in the German top tier for three seasons, joining Ingolstadt in 2014 before making his first move into the EBEL with Fehervar. Two seasons then followed at Vienna Capitals - which brought a play-off title in 2017 - before a move to Linz last summer.

KEY INGREDIENT: Ben O'Connor will once again prove a decisive influence on the blue line for Sheffield Steelers in 2019-20. Picture: Dean Woolley.

“I’m really happy we could finally get this done," added Fox. "This one tested my patience but, at the end of the day, he was someone I felt brings a lot to the table and was willing to wait on."