Devils stalwart Matthew Myers in Sheffield Steelers kit for Elite Series. Pic: Dean Woolley

Cardiff Devils Stalwart Matthew Myers Can Help Sheffield Steelers To Elite Series Success Says Aaron Fox

By Terry Phillips

Welshman Matthew Myers is number one for Sheffield Steelers coach Aaron Fox in the build-up to 2021 Elite Series.

Cardiff Devils are not competing in the one-off competition, although they will be back for the 2021-22 Elite League season starting later this year.

Devils’ British players are playing in the four-team, five-week series starting this weekend, although there are no Cardiff import signings involved.

American Fox moved smartly to select Cardiff-born Myers in the pre-season draft and says: “Mattie is a true professional and we drafted him high – first pick overall.

Matthew Myers in more familiar uniform, that of Cardiff Devils. Pic: Helen Brabon.

“He’s tried and tested, a winner of the highest order.

“This is all about winning and I will be disappointed if Steelers don’t win this thing. Mattie fits into that mould perfectly, a big, physical player who wins face-offs, competes  for every moment he is out there and never complains about ice time.

“Mattie has slotted into our group perfectly. He sets such an example. When we were preparing to start practise on Thursday at 11.15am I went out and found him working on drills with five younger kids. 

“That’s great for the young guys and shows the character our older guys have.

“What Mattie has done for Cardiff Devils over a number of years has not gone unnoticed.”

https://twitter.com/officialEIHL/status/1377887272054448129

Steelers will face Nottingham Panthers, Manchester Storm and Coventry Blaze during the series and their roster also includes Myers’ close pal and fellow Great Britain International Jonathan Phillips.

‘Jonno’ is also from Cardiff and started his career with Devils, while he has played for Steelers over the last 14 seasons.

He is also Sheffield’s captain and Fox says: “The consummate leader. Not overly vocal, although some nights he will be, but he is a quiet leader whose message is see how I do it.

“I never worry about Jonathan having an off night, an off-shift. Yes, everybody makes mistakes, but with with Jonathan they are never effort related.

“He is among the three or four fastest players in Elite League and professional to a T.”

Former Cardiff Devils goalie Ben Bowns has returned from Austria to play for Nottingham Panthers. Pic: Dave Williams)

Goaltender Ben Bowns was drafted by Nottingham Panthers, while other Devils’ players who will be competing in the series are Sam Duggan and Toms Rutkis (Coventry Blaze) plus Josh Batch (Manchester Storm).

Welsh players involved are Ben Davies (Manchester) and Owen Griffiths (Nottingham).

All four EIHL Series teams can include eight import players, many of them young, up and coming guys, and there are Canadians, Americans, Norwegians, Czechs, Finnish and Hungarian.

Former Cardiff Devils captain Ryan Finnerty is Storm coach and describes the new mini-competition, designed partly to help Great Britain players prepare for the World Championships which start in May.

“This is a unique experience because we are dealing with players who have competed in 60 games and some who haven’t been on the ice for 60 minutes,” said Finnerty, who includes three Norwegians on his roster.

“But the guys are excited. Then buzz of being back for hockey has taken over.

The rink at Nottingham. Pic: Dean Woolley

“The Norwegian kids coming in will move the puck quickly, play heavy and shoot hard. We’ll see how they adapt to a more North American style.”

Tim Wallace is in charge of the Nottingham team, while Danny Stewart is Coventry coach.

EIHL Series fixtures:

April

Saturday 3: 

2pm Manchester Storm v Coventry Blaze

7pm Nottingham Panthers v Sheffield Steelers

Sunday 4

2pm Sheffield Steelers v Manchester Storm

7pm Coventry Blaze v Nottingham Panthers

Tuesday 6

7pm Manchester Storm v Nottingham Panthers

Wednesday 7

7pm Sheffield Steelers v Coventry Blaze

Friday 9 

7pm Coventry Blaze v Manchester Storm

Saturday 10

7pm Sheffield Steelers v Nottingham Panthers

Sunday 11

2pm Nottingham Panthers v Coventry Blaze 

7pm Manchester Storm v Sheffield Steelers

Nottingham Panthers players celebrate during their 6-1 pre-series exhibition match against Coventry Blaze this week. Pic: Dean Woolley

Tuesday 13 

7pm: Coventry Blaze v Sheffield Steelers

Wednesday 14: 

7pm Nottingham Panthers v Manchester Storm

Thursday 15

7pm Manchester Storm v Coventry Blaze

Friday 16:

7pm Nottingham Panthers v Sheffield Steelers

Saturday 17

7pm Coventry Blaze v Nottingham Panthers

Sunday 18 

4pm Sheffield Steelers v Manchester Storm

Monday 19 

7pm Nottingham Panthers v Manchester Storm

Tuesday 20

7pm Sheffield Steelers v Coventry Blaze 

Wednesday 21 

7pm Manchester Storm v Nottingham Panthers

Thursday 22

7pm Coventry Blaze v Sheffield Steelers

Saturday 24

2pm Coventry Blaze v Manchester Storm

7pm Sheffield Steelers v Nottingham Panthers

Sunday 25

2pm Nottingham Panthers v Coventry Blaze

7pm Manchester Storm v Sheffield Steelers

Tuesday 27

4.30pm Semi-final 1, first leg

8.15pm Semi-final 1, first leg

Wednesday 28

7pm Semi-final 1, second leg

Thursday 29

7pm Semi-final 2, second leg

Final: TBC

EIHL series rosters

Coventry Blaze:

Coach: Danny Stewart

Roster

Goaltenders: 1 Jordan Hedley, 40 Will Bray, 50 Shane Owen (import, Canada).

Defencemen: 33 Nicolai Bryhnisveen (import, Norway), 58 David Clements, 43 Max Krogdahl (import, Norway), 21 Chris Pohlkamp (import, USA, 39 Samual Russell, 23 Paul Swindlehurst.

Forwards: 24 Ivan Antonov, (import, Norway) 16 Sam Duggan, 34 Simen Andrew Edvardsen (import, Norway), 14 Alex Forbes, 90 Mike Hammond, 95 Mac Howlett, 18 Nick Jermain (import, USA), 71 Teristan Keck (import, Canada), Janne Laakenen (import, Finland), 11 Aaron Mitchell-King, 37 Toms Rutkis, 27 Cole Shudra, 59 Ross Venus, Luke Ferrara.

Manchester Storm:

Coach: Ryan Finnerty

Roster:

Goaltenders: 1 Sean Bonar (import, Canada), 30 Samuel Gospel, 31 Stephen Murphy, 

Defencemen: 10 Dallas Erhardt (import, Canada), 13 Joe Hazeldine, 55 Andreas Klavestad (import, Norway), 96 Ben Solder, 21 Zach Sullivan, 

Forwards: 4 Josh Batch, 11 Cameron Critchlow (import, Canada), 5 Ben Davies, 16 Tyson Fawcett (import, Canada), Maxime Fortier (import, Canada), 19 Harry Gulliver, 18 Matthew Haywood, 9 Ben Lake (import, Canada), 89 Ciaran Long, 20 Jacob Lutwyche, 71 Craig Peacock, 25 Scot Simmonds (import, Canada), 27 Finlay Ulrick, Martrin Gran. (Import, Norway), Jacob Lundell Noer (import, Norway).

Nottingham Panthers: 

Coach: Tom Wallace

Roster:

Goaltenders: 1 Jackson Whistle, 33 Ben Bowns, 31 William Kerlin, 

Defence: 2 Brendan Ellis (import, Canada), 4 Mark Garside, 20 Mark Matheson (import, Canada), 50 Liam Stenton, 13 Dominic Talbot-Tassi (import, Canada), 25 Joshua Tetlow.

Forwards: 74 Oliver Betteridge, 94 Christophe Boivin (import,  Canada), Austin Cangelosi (import, USA), 90 Bobby Chamberlain, 21 Morgan Clark-Pizzo, 92 Nick Dineen (import, USA), 17 Kevin Domingue (import, Canada), 15 Craig Carrigan, 19 Owen Griffiths, 8 Lewis Hook. 14 Jordan Kelsall, 7 Robert Lachowicz, 27 Johno May (import, USA), 9 Brett Perlini.

Sheffield Steelers:

Coach: Aaron Fox

Roster:

Goaltenders: 88 John Muse (import, USA), 31 Ben Churchfield, 34 Curtis Warburton.

Defence: 25 Jeremy Beaudry (import, Canada), 97 Josef Hrabal (import, Czech), 2 Adam Jones, 44 Sam Jones, 13 David Phillips, 47 Adrian Saxrud Danielsen (import, Norway), 28 Kevin Schulze (import, USA).

Forwards: 63 Brendan Connolly (import, Canada), 75 Robert Dowd, 10 Tanner Eberle (import, Canada), 21 Alex Graham, 17 Jason Hewitt, 14 Liam Kirk, 94 Josef Mikyska (import, Czech), 24 Jack Musil, 8 Matthew Myers, 12 Sondre Olden (import, Norway), 3 Balint Pakozdi (import, Hungary), 20 Jonathan Phillips, 19 Joshua Walker.

GB play their World Championship matches at the Olympic Sports Centre in Latvia. The 16-team top flight tournament, split into two groups, starts on May 21 and runs through to June 6,

There will be no relegation as no tournaments apart from the top flight are taking place this season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

GB will face Russia in their opening match plus Slovakia, Denmark, Belarus, Sweden, Czech Republic and Switzerland.

Group B consists of hosts Latvia, as well as Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Norway and USA with matches played at Arena Riga.

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