Captain Fantastic Jonathan Phillips makes history for Great Britain in World Championships showdown with Denmark

JONATHAN PHILLIPS will skate out for Great Britain against Denmark at the World Championships today chalking up yet another milestone in his remarkable career - just don’t expect him to make too much fuss about it.

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC: Jonathan Phillips battles for the puck against Russia in Riga. Picture: Dean Woolley.

The quietly-spoken 38-year-old GB and Sheffield Steelers captain becomes only the third player ever - after Ashley Tait and David Longstaff - to reach 100 caps for his country.

And there have been no shortage of tributes paid to the Cardiff-born winger ahead of his landmark appearance in Riga (face-off 2.15pm).

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FOLLOW MY LEADER: Jonathan Phillips listens in during a practice session in Riga last week. Picture courtesy of Dean Woolley.

Jason Hewitt played alongside his fellow forward for both GB and the Steelers for a number of years, something they were able to revisit at club level in the recent Spring Cup and Elite Series tournaments. As a result, he has maintained a strong friendship with Phillips, who he believes is fully deserving of the accolade.

“It’s an incredible achievement when you see how many games there are for GB each year,” said Hewitt. “I know he was drafted in really young by the GB programme and now he’s really old, but it is a great accomplishment and one that he’ll be quietly very proud of.

“He takes immense pride in playing for GB and that’s probably a big reason why he keeps pushing. Being in Pool A and reaching this milestone makes it an even more sweeter occasion for him.

“Everybody who is close to him or has played with him is super-proud of him.”

FULLY DESERVED: Jason Hewitt was reunited on the ice with close friend Jonathan Phillips in the recent Spring Cup and Elite Series. Picture: Dean Woolley.

When asked to explain how Phillips is able to have kept going at the top for as long as he has, Hewitt added; “There’s no real secret to it – everything you read about him is about how good a shape he is in. He is just so disciplined in what he does and how he treats his body.

“It’s not just about going to the gym on a regular basis, it is a complete commitment to the lifestyle, from what he eats, drinks – it’s non-stop with him, just total commitment.

“I know he doesn’t find it easy but he always finds that willpower and that drive to keep doing it. On the ice, he just brings that strong, quiet leadership that teams need. He’s not a screamer and a shouter, he just leads by example. The total package of how hard he works and how he puts his body on the line - is what carries people with him.”

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

Steelers’ head coach Aaron Fox has leant heavily on Phillips ever since coming to the club in the summer of 2019 and remains constantly impressed by the Welshman’s enthusiasm and professionalism.

“He’s such a consummate professional,” said Fox. “He keeps himself in the best shape humanly possible, especially at his age and it almost seems like he gets in better shape every year.

“Skating is probably one of his biggest strengths, just like his reliability and his leadership are.

“There’s no question why he has got 100 caps. He’s just a true leader and does everything the right way. There’s nobody more deserving of this - great guy high character with a team-first mentality.”

CLOSE: Jonathan Phillips and Jason Hewitt in action for the Steeelers against Dundee Stars back in 2013. Picture: Dean Woolley.

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