Here we have a short interview by Lewis Coleman of East Sheffield Sport with our own Mike Rhodes.
LC – When did you first get involved with the Steelkings?
MR – It’ll be three years ago this summer. I’ve been a hockey fan for a long time and one of my oldest friends, Jake, is the Steelkings’ Chairman. He was bugging me to come down and give para ice-hockey a try for a while and the club runs some learn-to-sledge sessions from time to time where anyone can come down and give the sport a go. I went along to one of those, loved it, and they haven’t found a way to get rid of me since!
LC – With the season due to start in May and with the League and play off title to defend are you disappointed that this now looks unlikely?
MR – I think the season is officially off now. It is disappointing but there’s little point in getting frustrated about things you can’t control and you can look for positives: we were adding a second team, the Steelking Bees (or Steel Stings) to the league this year and this gives a lot of new players that extra time to train – once we’re back on the ice of course – and to get up to speed. A couple of the team had injuries and now there is extra recovery time. We want to retain our titles and win trophies of course, but our bigger aim is to grow the profile of this club and the sport and we can still be doing things towards that. And hopefully later on this year if and when things get back to normal we can do some sort of friendly game or there might kind of tournament with the other British teams so it might not be a completely wasted year game wise. So it is a disappointment sure, but I’m more disappointed by things that have actually happen in games rather than in games that will never happen.
LC – Sport isn’t just about exercise, how much are you missing the camaraderie with your teammates?
MR – Yeah that’s difficult. Everyone was really welcoming when I first started and we really are like one big family, plus there a few people on that team that I’ve been friends with since I was a kid. We’re lucky in a way that with social media, instant messaging, things like Skype, we can all stay in touch but it isn’t the same. We used to do a lot together socially. And we usually train on a Friday night. No matter how bad a week you might have had you always knew you were seeing friends and letting off some steam on the ice for an hour or two and I miss that. I’m sure we all do.
LC – Is the inclusiveness of para Ice Hockey something you enjoy and would recommend to others?
MR – Absolutely. The sport is designed to be all inclusive and the Steelkings really embrace that. The sport welcomes disabled and able-bodied players, and it welcomes anyone regardless of gender, age, sexuality, religion, or any other characteristic and the Steelkings are the most welcoming group of people I’ve ever known. It’s a huge, huge selling point of the sport and of the club for me and I know what that acceptance and those friendships you can build with teammates can do for people.
LC – What are the challenges of working alongside training and playing matches for the Steelkings?
MR – To be honest I’ve been pretty lucky in that regard so far. My work have been understanding in letting me leave early for training if I need to and make my time back elsewhere and all the matches so far have been on weekends. I know it’s a bigger struggle for some of the team but I’ve been fine so far.
LC – How are you keeping yourself occupied without being able to train and play matches with the Steelkings?
MR – With a lot of films! Seriously, whilst I can’t go to the gym and we can’t train properly, I still have my gear so I can practice stick handling – but with tennis balls not pucks. I don’t have weights at home but I have been doing cardio and stretches. And I can re-watch games. It’s not ideal, but again it’s about looking for the positives and making the best out of what you have.
⚠️ CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE ⚠️
Unfortunately, like the rest of the world, the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak has meant we have had to cancel all of our training and exhibition games until further notice.
The health and wellbeing of our players, staff and fans are of the upmost importance to us and we hope you all stay safe, look after each other and we will see you all very soon for the defence of our crown and introduction of our new team.
We held our second annual Kings Cup tournament recently with four teams battling it out for the honour of winning the trophy. Joining the Sheffield Steelkings for this year’s tournament were the Rouen Dragons, the Cardiff Huskies and our own Steelbees team, with the Huskies taking home the spoils this time.
We thank the Rouen Dragons for making the long trip from Northern France, the Huskies for journeying here from South Wales and all of the fans who came to watch the excitement.
In case you missed it, we’ve been nominated for ‘Sporting Achievement of the Year’ in the Yorkshire Choice Awards!
But we now need your help!
Please click on the link below and to head to the YCA website where you can vote for the Sheffield Steelkings!
(Our very own Barry Grayson and Andy Atkinson are also up for awards! Baz for ‘Inspirational Individual of the Year’ and Andy for the ‘Kate Granger for Outstanding Achievement’ – Due to their involvement in para ice hockey and the club! Please vote for them at the same time).
If you can share this with everybody you know that would also be amazing! Thank you from everyone at the Steelkings! We really appreciate it!
We are pleased to announce that the Winter Blast will be returning for 2019!!!
So please join us at IceSheffield for our annual inter-club Christmas exhibition game.
It’s completely FREE for all spectators, so make sure you, your family and your friends join us on Thursday 19th December for what will be another great game or Para Ice Hockey
Hat-tricks from Matt Clarkson and debutant Matt Woollias helped Sheffield Steelkings to a 7-4 triumph over the table topping Manchester Mayhem in Altrincham on Sunday.
They lead 2-1 after a first period in which they had Manchester pegged inside their own zone for extended periods; Clarkson and club Chairman Jake Oakley scoring either side of Karl Nicholson’s tally for Manchester. The period was played at a furious tempo as the Steelkings cycled the puck with pace and fluidity, whereas Manchester looked dangerous on the break.
The second half was a scrappier affair and Manchester exerted more pressure of their own but Woollias gave Sheffield a 3-1 lead on a break-away effort on 25:47.
Manchester stormed back into the game to tie it up 3-3 by the start of the third period. The first came with 2:58 remaining in the second as Nicholson swept home a rebound from the centre of the Steelkings zone and then Anthony Booth took advantage of a break-away to level things up with 11:37 left to play.
Sheffield had to go and win the game again and did so. Woollias struck his second and third goals with 6:52 and 5:15 to play – the latter a back-post tap-in from a Clarkson cross, before Clarkson made the score 6-3, firing across goal into the top left corner of the net inside the final two minutes.
There was a late trading of goals in the final eighty seconds as Manchester struck back again through their own hat-trick hero Nicholson, before Clarkson secured the victory and earned his own hat-trick with a long-range effort with 31 seconds to play.
“I’m one very proud coach right now!” said Oakley afterwards, “We had a plan and together took down a great team. Everyone played their part and we got that result as a team.”
We play our first home game of the season this Sunday vs. the Peterborough Phantoms at IceSheffield at 16:15.
Written by Mike Rhodes
Photographs by Simon Gill and Anne Fotheringham
Matt Clarkson struck twice and Jake Oakley once as the Sheffield Steelkings Para Ice Hockey club began their league campaign with a 3-1 away win over the Cardiff Huskies on Saturday.
The Steelkings had to soak up a lot of early Cardiff pressure, but took the lead towards the end of the first period when Clarkson’s speculative effort from inside his own half found its way under the Huskies goaltender. They then had to rely on their own goalie Bryan Hackworth to make some key saves as the Huskies looked for an immediate response.
Sheffield grew into the game as it went on and doubled their lead in the second period. Clarkson was put through on goal by Oakley and again he finished under the goaltender from the inside right hash for his second of the game.
In the third period, Oakley got free of a defender to set up a one-on-one with the Cardiff netminder, and whilst his first shot was high, the puck bounced back off the backboards for him to bundle home his own rebound.
The Steelkings had to see out a late penalty for too many men on the ice but came good on the penalty kill, only for Cardiff to strike a late consolation as Russ Wiley fired in a rebound at close range.
Oakley said, “I’m really proud of everyone. All the players worked hard for each other and gave what they could and I’d like to thank the off-ice staff for all their efforts too.
We had to deal with a lot of pressure from Cardiff and they’re a very good side. It feels great to get our season off to a winning start.”
With the British Para Ice Hockey League adapting a 5 point system, the Steelkings earned 4.5 points for Saturday’s result: 2 points for winning the game, 1 point each for winning the first two periods 1-0, and 0.5 points for tying the third period 1-1.
The Huskies take the 0.5 points for the tied third period.
The Steelkings travel to Manchester next Sunday to face the Mayhem with a 16:15 face-off at Planet Ice Rink Altrincham.
Written by Mike Rhodes
“We are very grateful to the Rouen Dragons for inviting us for an absolutely brilliant game. Their hospitality was great and we have had a wonderful time and we hope to return the favour in the future”.