Phillips the perfect fit to act as Thompson’s leading man at Steelers

JONATHAN PHILLIPS will once again wear the ‘C’ for Sheffield Steelers after being hailed as the ideal ‘leader of the pack’ by head coach Paul Thompson.

Sheffield Steelers' captain Jonathan Phillips. Picture: Dean Woolley

The 33-year-old will be the on-ice leader of the reigning Elite League champions for the seventh full season of his illustrious 10-year career at the Motorpoint Arena.

Thompson has picked the talismanic Mathieu Roy as one of his assistants, along with newcomers Zach Fitzgerald and Russ Moyer.

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After drawing a blank in their debut Champions Hockey League campaign, the Steelers opened their domestic season with a 5-3 loss on the road at Cardiff Devils in the Challenge Cup last Sunday.

Thompson’s team will have to wait until Saturday, September 26 to begin the defence of their league title when they head to Dundee Stars, but continue their season this weekend with two more Cup games, first travelling to Thompson’s former club Coventry Blaze, before returning home to host Cardiff on Sunday.

And Phillips will be the man leading them out on to the ice at the SkyDome Arena tomorrow, with Thompson convinced he has the right man for the job.

“When I took over here in the summer, Jonathan Phillips was the first player I met,” said Thompson, who coached Phillips previously when in charge of the GB national team.

“I was straight with him and told him that I didn’t know if he would be my captain when the season started. I wanted to look at our group and take my time. It’s an important decision that I needed to get right.

“But after just a couple of weeks working with ‘Jonna’ I knew 100 per cent that he was my captain. He is without doubt the manager of that group. He is a leader – not a shouter, not a screamer but definitely a do-er.

“He is the heartbeat of the Steelers, the leader of the pack.”