Sheffield Steeldogs boosted by return of D-man Lee Haywood

GREG WOOD believes the return to Sheffield Steeldogs of defenceman Lee Haywood represents a step up in quality.

Lee Haywood is back with Sheffield Steeldogs after four seasons in Hull.

The 33-year-old came through the Sheffield system as a junior, going on to play first for the Scimitars and then the Steeldogs for a combined 10 seasons.

During that time, there were a handful of appearances for Sheffield Steelers thrown in before he made the switch to Hull Pirates in 2016-17 where he formed a vital part of player-coach Jason Hewitt’s team.

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Hewitt will be one of a number of familiar faces for Haywood on his return to Ice Sheffield, with former Pirates’ team-mates Lee Bonner, Sam Towner, Matt Bissonnette and Jonathan Kirk also on gead coach Wood’s roster.

Lee haywood, pictured during his previous spell at Sheffield Steeldogs. Picture courtesy of Steeldogs Media.

His return, in time for this weekend’s NIHL Autumn Cup clashes against at Peterborough Phantoms today and on home ice against Milton Keynes tomorrow (4.30pm), coincides with the departure of fellow D-man Tom Ralph.

Hull-born Ralph, only joined the Steeldogs in the summer having spent two seasons at Basingstoke Bison before the lockdown. He previously played for the Pirates and had two seasons in the Elite League with Hull Stingrays.

“Based on the style of hockey the team is playing, we need D-men who can bring the puck out and make a good first pass,” said Wood.

“Lee absolutely fits that bill and when a player of his quality becomes available, you need to make a move. Everyone in the dressing room knows him, we all know what his strengths are.

“He bleeds blue, he was a Steeldog for a long time, there’s a lot of history there, so it’s going to be a pleasure to have him back.”

Leeds Knights are also in Autumn Cup action and will look to extend their 100 per cent record at Milton Keynes tonight, before hosting Peterborough Phantoms tomorrow (5.15pm).

Coach Dave Whistle has brought in teenage goaltender Jacob Hammond on a two-way deal from Billingham Stars to be back-up to Sam Gospel.

In the Elite League, unbeaten Sheffield Steelers will aim to maintain their impressive start to the season in a league double header with Guildford Flames.

The Steelers are on home ice tonight (7pm) befe making the trip to Surry tomorrow.