Sheffield Steelers

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Sheffield Steelers
Sheffield Steelers.svg
City Sheffield, England
League Elite Ice Hockey League
Founded 1991
Operated Rhino Sports
Home arena Sheffield Arena

Orange, Black and Blue

Owner(s) England Tony Smith
General manager United Kingdom Paul Thompson
Head coach United Kingdom Paul Thompson
Captain United Kingdom Jonathan Phillips
Regular season titles 1994–95, 1995–96, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2014–15, 2015-16
Autumn Cups 1995–96, 2000–01
Challenge Cups 1998–99, 1999–00, 2000–01, 2002–03
Playoff championships 1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2003–04, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2013–14, 2016-17

Sheffield Steelers is a professional ice hockey team located in Sheffield, England. It was formed in 1991 (see 1991 in sport) and plays its home games at the FlyDSA Arena. It is currently a member of the Elite Ice Hockey League. The club's main (title) sponsor is Sheffield Window Centre.


Sheffield Arena: home of the Steelers

Ice Hockey existed in amateur form in Sheffield, but the sport began its return to an era of arenas and stadium size crowds with the opening of the Sheffield Arena in 1991 and the creation of the Sheffield Steelers — the ice hockey team that was to occupy the new arena. The Sheffield Arena was built as part of the city's facilities for the staging of the World Student Games, and is a sizeable stadium originally seating 8,500 and located close to the city centre.[1] Ronnie Wood and David Gardener-Brown were at the helm as the Marketing Director at the club and set about promoting ice hockey to a city raised on the footballing success of Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday. Wood had a specific target, seeking to attract children and families to the city's new sporting Arena. As he stated in an interview in Liam Sluyter's A Game of Three Halves (Mainstream Publishing, 1998), "we were sending guys around schools. We wrote to all the schools in Sheffield and said 'Bring the kids, see the Arena, sit down, experience the whole thing'". They also began taking players to local football matches and parading them around the ground with mascots in an attempt to pull in football fans too. Another marketing ploy was to give certain players nicknames to help the crowd associate with the new (and as yet unknown) players. This idea was hatched by the announcer Dave Simms.[citation needed]

The Steelers were named in honour of Sheffield's industrial past, much like the American football team of the same name based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the sharing of nicknames are merely a coincidence. The American football team actually predates Sheffield's team by 58 years and was already popular worldwide due to their dominance in the National Football League in the 1970s. Sheffield and Pittsburgh are considered sister cities.[2]

The Sheffield Steelers were the first ever fully professional ice hockey team in Great Britain, and O'Brien suggested that there was a lot of resentment from the followers of other hockey teams who saw them as a "cheque book hockey club" able to buy whoever they chose.[citation needed] Likewise, Sluyter questions the authenticity of the majority of Steelers fans in the club's early days. Though he admitted that it was a generalisation, Sluyter suggested hockey fans of teams like Cardiff, Fife and Nottingham were ice hockey fans first and foremost, while Steelers' supporters were only Steelers fans, and knew very little of ice hockey outside of Sheffield. However, it made little difference as Sheffield began breaking several British ice hockey attendance records, and in March of that year added an extra 1,200 seats to the Arena to meet the growing demand.

Sheffield Steelers had begun their first ever season in English Division One of the British Hockey League. One year later Sheffield Steelers won promotion into the British Premier League, before going on to win this in 1995 — the last team to do so before the formation of the new British Ice Hockey Super League (ISL) that year.[citation needed]

On Sunday 3 December 2006, the Steelers played in their 1000th ever game.[3] The game was against the Basingstoke Bison at the Hallam FM Arena, for which special orange jerseys had been made for the match.[4] The Steelers lost the game 3–2[5] and the jerseys were all auctioned off at the game.


In the 2000–01 campaign the Steelers completed a Grand Slam, becoming only the second club to win the Autumn Cup, League, Challenge Cup and Playoff Titles in the same season. They retained the Play-off title the following season, the first team to achieve this in the Superleague era, beating Manchester Storm on penalties in the Play-Off final, held at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham in front of a full house.

David Matsos was appointed as coach for the 2006–07 season. He led the Steelers to a fourth-place finish in the league and a place in the Challenge Cup Finals.[6] The club broke an Elite League Attendance record against the Manchester Phoenix with an attendance of 7,339.[citation needed]

In 2007 team Owner Bob Phillips and his wife sold their other Elite League club the Cardiff Devils in order to concentrate on building the Steelers.[7] The club won that season's Elite League Playoff Championship after beating the Coventry Blaze 2–0 in the final with goals from Johnathan Phillips and Dan Tessier. The Steelers were knocked out of the following season's Knockout Cup and Challenge Cup early, but finished first in a league campaign that saw them lose just three times in regulation. They made this a double by beating Nottingham Panthers 2–0 in the Play-Off final. The Steelers season ended in the Quarter Finals of the Play-offs after being knocked out by the Cardiff Devils.

The 2010–11 season was preceded by a "walk-out" of Steelers management and office staff, after a vote of no confidence in Owner Bob Phillips. Phillips put the club up for sale, and in December 2010 Paul Ragan, the CEO and owner of the Cardiff Devils, finalised acquiring the rights to the Sheffield Steelers. The Steelers were at the top of the league for the majority of the season, battling it out with the Cardiff Devils, .and won the league after back-to-back victories against the Braehead Clan. The Steelers were tied on points with Cardiff but won the league having more regulation time wins. After several rounds of negotiations, Simon decided not to renew his contract, and Ryan Finnerty was installed as player/coach after.

During that season Sheffield Steelers became the first EIHL team to win a medal in Europe after their appearance in the Continental Cup superfinal.

Tony Smith took over as sole owner in August 2011 after buying out Paul Ragan. The Steelers won the 2013–14 Play-Off final 3–2 against Belfast Giants.

At the end of season 2014–15 they beat the Cardiff Devils to clinch the Elite League title with 74 points. On 20 April 2015 they parted company with coach Gerad Adams. They soon brought in Paul Thompson, former GB coach, as Head Coach and General Manager.[8] At the end of season 2015-16 they became only the second club in the history of ice hockey to become back to back champions when they defeated the Fife Flyers on the final day of the season to take the title.

Current roster[edit]

2018-19 Elite Ice Hockey League season

No. Player Catches Acquired Place of Birth Joined from Press Release
30 England Bradley Day L 2015 Huddersfield, England Sheffield Steeldogs, EPIHL
1 CanadaUnited Kingdom Jackson Whistle L 2018 Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada Belfast Giants, EIHL
No. Player Shoots Acquired Place of Birth Joined from Press Release
13 United Kingdom David Phillips R 2016 Kingston upon Hull, England Manchester Storm, EIHL
25 Canada Mark Matheson L 2017 Calgary, Alberta, Canada Dragons de Rouen, Ligue Magnus
43 Canada Josh McFadden L 2018 Guelph, Ontario, Canada University of Guelph, U Sports
44 Canada Ryan Martinelli R 2018 London, Ontario, Canada Belfast Giants, EIHL
89 Czech Republic Jiří Gula R 2018 Most, Czech Republic HC Litvínov, Czech Extraliga
53 Canada Aaron Johnson L 2018 Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, Canada Adler Mannheim, DEL
22 England Jordan Griffin R 2018 Bradford, England Bradford Bulldogs, England U18
No. Player Position Acquired Place of Birth Joined from Press Release
20 United Kingdom Jonathan Phillips C LW 2006 Cardiff, Wales Cardiff Devils, EIHL
75 United Kingdom Robert Dowd LW 2013 Billingham, England IF Troja/Ljungby, HockeyAllsvenskan
12 England Kieran Brown F 2017 Bradford, England Iowa Wild AAA U16, T1EHL U16
74 CanadaUnited Kingdom Brandon Whistle C 2018 West Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada Salmon Arm Silverbacks, BCHL
46 Canada Josh Pitt C/LW 2018 Brockville, Ontario, Canada Kalamazoo Wings, ECHL
10 Canada Tanner Eberle LW 2018 Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada Jacksonville IceMen, ECHL
19 Canada Evan McGrath C 2018 Oakville, Ontario, Canada Kassel Huskies, DEL2
21 Canada Justin Buzzeo LW/RW 2018 Windsor, Ontario, Canada Ravensburg Towerstars, DEL2
18 Canada Chris Lawrence C/RW 2018 Toronto, Ontario, Canada Dundee Stars, EIHL
23 Canada Jordan Owens LW 2018 Toronto, Ontario, Canada Fischtown Pinguins, DEL
33 Canada Ryan Rupert C/LW 2018 London, Ontario, Canada Indy Fuel, ECHL
32 Canada Matt Rupert C 2018 London, Ontario, Canada Indy Fuel, ECHL
17 Canada Stefan Della Rovere LW 2018 Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada Kassel Huskies, DEL2
Out on loan
No. Player Position Acquired Place of Birth Joined from Press Release
27 England Cole Shudra (on loan at Milton Keynes Lightning for 2018/19) F 2016 Rotherham, England Sheffield Steeldogs, EPIHL
Coaching Staff
No. Name Position Place of Birth Joined from Press Release
N/A United Kingdom Paul Thompson Head coach Singapore

[9] [10]

Honoured members[edit]

The Steelers have retired the numbers of six players.[11] Ronnie Wood's number 7 and Tim Cranston's number 4 have been retired. Tony Hand's number 16 and Ken Priestlay's number 9 were retired on 21 January 2003 at a challenge match against the Dundee Stars,[12] with Ron Shudra's number 26 retired in summer 2009. Tommy Plommer's number 11 has also been retired.

Eight people who have been associated with the Steelers have been inducted to the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.[13] Alex Dampier, who coached the Steelers from January 1993 to the end of the 1997–98 season, was inducted in 1995 and Mike Blaisdell, who coached and occasionally iced for the Steelers between 1999 and 2004, was inducted in 2004. On the player front, Chris Kelland was inducted in 2002, Rick Brebant in 2004, Paul Adey in 2006, Scott Neil in 2007, and most recently, legendary players Tim Cranston and 'Rocket' Ron Shudra in December 2010.

The Steelers started their own Hall of Fame in 2005 in which honoured members are voted for by the fans. There are two Hall of Fames: The Players Hall of Fame[14] and the Backroom Staff Hall of Fame.[15] Ken Priestlay, Tommy Plommer, Scott Allison and Tim Cranston were inducted to the Players Hall of Fame in 2005 and Ron Shudra and Mike Blaisdell were inducted in 2006. David Simms, responsible for Press and Media at the club, and Andy Akers, Equipment Manager, were inducted to the Backroom Staff Hall of Fame in 2006 and Mike O'Connor, General Manager, was inducted in 2007.

Honours and awards[edit]

League Championships

Play Off Championships

Autumn Cups

  • 1995–96, 2000–01

Challenge Cups

20–20 Hockeyfest Tournament

  • 2009–10

Player of the Year Trophy

Coach of the Year Trophy

The Ice Hockey Annual Trophy (Leading British points scorer)

First Team All-Star

Second Team All-Star

Grand slam winning teams[edit]

The Steelers have won the Grand Slam of all available trophies twice in their history. In the 1995–96 season they won the Benson & Hedges Cup, the league championship and the playoffs. In the 2000–01 season they won the Benson & Hedges Cup, the Challenge Cup, the league championship and the playoffs. The players who played for the Steelers those seasons were:

1995–96 team[edit]



  • Neil Abel
  • Perry Doyle
  • Scott Heaton
  • Chris Kelland
  • Andre Malo
  • Mike O'Connor
  • Ron Shudra
  • Jamie Van der Horst
  • Rob Wilson
  • Mark Wright


| style="width: 50%;text-align: left; vertical-align: top; " |

2000–01 team[edit]





Season-by-season record[edit]

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

Season League GP W L T OTL Pts GF GA Final League Position
1991–92 English League Division 1 32 27 4 1 0 55 378 163 2nd
1992–93 British League Division 1 32 22 6 4 0 48 300 186 2nd
1993–94 British League Premier Division 44 28 12 4 0 55 313 198 3rd
1994–95 British League Premier Division 44 35 5 4 0 74 334 183 1st
1995–96 British League Premier Division 36 27 4 5 0 59 268 122 1st
1996–97 Ice Hockey Superleague 44 27 11 4 2 60 168 127 2nd
1997–98 Ice Hockey Superleague 44 20 18 3 3 50 169 163 6th
1998–99 Ice Hockey Superleague 42 17 19 4 2 40 135 141 6th
1999–00 Ice Hockey Superleague 42 24 14 2 2 52 188 155 2nd
2000–01 Ice Hockey Superleague 48 35 9 0 4 104 162 115 1st
2001–02 Ice Hockey Superleague 48 18 18 12 0 48 138 144 3rd
2002–03 Ice Hockey Superleague 32 18 8 5 1 42 162 115 1st††
2003–04 Elite Ice Hockey League 56 44 8 3 1 92 214 106 1st
2004–05 Elite Ice Hockey League 50 25 17 5 3 58 118 110 5th
2005–06 Elite Ice Hockey League 42 15 19 6 2 38 105 135 6th
2006–07 Elite Ice Hockey League 54 30 16 8 68 163 154 3rd
2007–08 Elite Ice Hockey League 54 38 14 2 78 190 129 2nd
2008–09 Elite Ice Hockey League 54 41 6 7 89 201 115 1st
2009–10 Elite Ice Hockey League 56 24 26 6 54 194 196 5th
Finished second with 60 points. However, five points were deducted for breaking the wage cap[citation needed]
Three points were awarded for a win in the 2000–01 season
††Five team league

Club records[edit]

League titles[edit]

  • British Premier Division Titles: 2 (1994/95, 1995/96)
  • Superleague Titles: 2 (2000/01, 2002/03)
  • Elite League Titles: 5 (2003/04, 2008/09, 2010/11, 2014/15, 2015/16)

Cup titles[edit]

  • Yorkshire Cup: 2 (1993/94, 1994/95)
  • Benson & Hedges Cup: 2 (1995/95, 2000/01)
  • Challenge Cup: 4 (1998/99, 1999/00, 2000/01, 2002/03)
  • Knockout Cup: 1 (2005/06)
  • 20/20 Hockeyfest: 1 (2009/10)
  • Charity Shield: 1 (2009/10)

Play-off titles[edit]

  • British Championship: 10 (1994/95, 1995/96, 1996/97, 2000/01, 2001/02, 2003/04, 2007/08, 2009/09, 2013/14, 2016/17)

Team records[edit]

  • Most points in a season: 104 --- 3 pts for a win (2000/01) 92 --- 2 pts for a win (2003/04)
  • Most wins in a season: 44 (2003/04)
  • Most regulation losses in a season: 26 (2009/10)
  • Most overtime losses in a season: 8 (2006/07)
  • Most ties in a season: 12 (2001/02) --- ties ceased after the 2005/06 Season
  • Most goals scored in regular season: 378 (1991/92)
  • Most goals conceded in regular season: 198 (1993/94)
  • Least goals scored in regular season: 105 (2005/06)
  • Least goals conceded in regular season: 106 (2003/04)
  • Highest league position: 1st (1994/95, 1995/96, 2000/01, 2002/03, 2003/04, 2008/09, 2010/11, 2014/15)
  • Lowest league position: 6th (1997/98, 1998/99, 2005/06)
  • Most goals scored in a single game (competitive): 30 (30–4 .v. Solent Vikings, 15/03/1992)
  • Most goals conceded in a single game (competitive): 14 (14–3 @ Basingstoke Beavers, 07/11/1992, 14–10 @ Durham Wasps, 18/09/1993)
  • Biggest winning margin at home (competitive): 26 goals (30–4 .v. Solent Vikings, 15/03/1992)
  • Biggest winning margin on the road (competitive): 25 goals (4–29 @ Sunderland Chiefs, 28/12/1991)
  • Biggest losing margin at home (competitive): 6 goals (2–8 .v. Whitley Warriors, 16/10/1993, 0–6 .v. London Knights, 11/09/1999, 1–7 .v. Belfast Giants, 19/02/2006, 1–7 .v. Cardiff Devils, 12/01/2011)
  • Biggest losing margin on the Road (competitive): 11 goals (14–3 @ Basingstoke Beavers, 07/11/1992, 12–1 @ Cardiff Devils, 24/04/1994)
  • No. of Teams shutout (all time): 97
  • Most shutouts in a season (team, all comps): 10 (2008/09)
  • Team shutout most (all time): Nottingham Panthers (14)
  • No. of times shutout (all time): 37
  • Most times shutout in a season (all comps): 8 (2005/06)
  • Team most shutout against (all time): Nottingham Panthers (8)
  • Longest winning streak (all comps): 13 games (07/09/2000 – 11/10/2000)
  • Longest losing streak (all comps): 7 games (23/02/2003 – 15/03/2003)
  • Longest unbeaten streak (home, all comps): 53 games (49 Wins, 4 Ties – 27/12/1993 to 19/10/1996)
  • Highest attendance (home): 10,136 (Sheffield Steelers 5–2 Nottingham Panthers, 02/12/1995, Benson & Hedges Cup Final)
  • Highest attendance (away): 17,245 (Manchester Storm 6–2 Sheffield Steelers, 23/02/1997, Superleague)

Individual records[edit]

  • Most Games Played: Jonathan Phillips (683)
  • Most Goals Scored (All Time): Steve Nemeth (356)
  • Most Assists (All Time): Ron Shudra (463)
  • Most Points Scored (All Time): Ron Shudra (792)
  • Most Penalty Minutes (All Time): Tommy Plommer (1,007)
  • Most Goals Scored in a Regular Season: Steve Nemeth (92) (1991–1992)
  • Most Assists in a Regular Season: Mark Mackie (101) (1991–92)
  • Most Points Scored in a Regular Season: Steve Nemeth (186) (1991–92)
  • Most Penalty Minutes in a Regular Season: Andrew Sharpe (230) (2008–09)
  • Most Goals Scored in a Play-Off Championship: Steve Nemeth (21) (1991–92)
  • Most Assists in a Play-Off Championship: Steve Nemeth (18) (1991–92)
  • Most Points Scored in a Play-Off Championship: Steve Nemeth (39) (1991–92)
  • Most Penalty Minutes in a Play-Off Championship: Timo Willman (77) (2002–03)

Goaltender records[edit]

  • Most Games Played (All Time): Jody Lehman (252)
  • Most Minutes Played (All Time): Jody Lehman (14,927)
  • Most Wins (All Time): Jody Lehman (142)
  • Most Losses (All Time): Jody Lehman (73)
  • Most Shutouts in a Season (All Comps): Ervins Mustukovs (11) (2010–11)
  • Most Shutouts (All Time): Jody Lehman (24)
  • Best Goals Against Average (All Time): Christian Bronsard (1.23) (Min. 30 Games Played)
  • Best Save Percentage (All Time): Christian Bronsard (94.5%) (Min. 30 Games Played)


  1. ^ Sheffield Arena (2007). "Directions to the Sheffield Arena Sheffield". Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Sister Cities International". Archived from the original on 18 December 2007. Retrieved 9 June 2017. 
  3. ^ Sheffield Steelers (2006). "1000th Game Fast Approaches". Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 13 June 2007. 
  4. ^ Sheffield Steelers (2006). "Special Game Shirt for Sunday". Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 13 June 2007. 
  5. ^ Sheffield Steelers (2006). "Steelers Go Down to the Bison on their 1,000th Night". Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 13 June 2007. 
  6. ^ Britich Ice (2007). "Elite Ice Hockey League – 2006/07". Archived from the original on 27 May 2007. Retrieved 13 June 2007. 
  7. ^ "Steelers chief sells Devils". The Sheffield Star. 2007. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 13 June 2007. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Team Roster". Sheffield Steelers. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2017-03-05. 
  10. ^ "Sheffield Steelers". Retrieved 2017-03-05. 
  11. ^ Sheffield Steelers (2007). "History". Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2007. 
  12. ^ Stuart Hughes (18 December 2002). "Sheffield to honour Steelers stars". BBC Sport Online. Retrieved 6 November 2007. 
  13. ^ Ice Hockey Journalists UK (2007). "Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2007. 
  14. ^ J. P. Smith. "Players Hall Of Fame". Sheffield Steelers Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2007. 
  15. ^ J. P. Smith. "Backroom Staff Hall Of Fame". Sheffield Steelers Hall of Fame. Retrieved 6 November 2007. [permanent dead link]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Cardiff Devils
Premier League Champions
1994–95, 1995–96
Succeeded by
Last Champions
Preceded by
Cardiff Devils
Playoff Champions
1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97
Succeeded by
Ayr Scottish Eagles
Preceded by
Nottingham Panthers
Autumn Cup Winners
Succeeded by
Nottingham Panthers
Preceded by
Ayr Scottish Eagles
Challenge Cup Winners
1998–99, 1999–00, 2000–01
Succeeded by
Ayr Scottish Eagles
Preceded by
Bracknell Bees
Superleague Champions
Succeeded by
Belfast Giants
Preceded by
London Knights
Playoff Champions
2000–01, 2001–02
Succeeded by
Belfast Giants
Preceded by
Manchester Storm
Autumn Cup Winners
Succeeded by
Last Champions
Preceded by
Belfast Giants
Superleague Champions
Succeeded by
Last Champions
Preceded by
Ayr Scottish Eagles
Challenge Cup Winners
Succeeded by
Nottingham Panthers
Preceded by
Inaugural Champions
Elite League Champions
Succeeded by
Coventry Blaze
Preceded by
Belfast Giants
Playoff Champions
Succeeded by
Coventry Blaze
Preceded by
Inaugural Champions
Knockout Cup Winners
Succeeded by
Cardiff Devils
Preceded by
Nottingham Panthers
Playoff Champions
2007–08, 2008–09
Succeeded by
Belfast Giants
Preceded by
Coventry Blaze
Elite League Champions
Succeeded by
Coventry Blaze
Preceded by
Coventry Blaze
Elite League Champions
Succeeded by
Belfast Giants