Relf buzzes back to the Dogs
Tom Relf split last season between the Dogs and the Sutton Sting but will be back patrolling the Steeldogs blueline on a permanent basis this year. Tom first joined the club in 2016 when he began his studies at Sheffield Hallam University, having already been a regular for the Bracknell Bees.
Having completed both a degree and a Masters, 22 year old Tom will be focusing on ice hockey and the world of work. He’s on course to make his 200th appearance as a Steeldog during the 20/21 season.
Ben Morgan believes he has secured another important part of his team;
“It’s great to get the chance to sign Relfy back as a full time Steeldog, he has a great attitude and ability to adapt. When he stepped up and played for us last season, he was sound, really controlled and calming on the puck, he made good plays at the back and he even scored a goal!
“Last year was maybe a step back to get two steps forward with his career, but he bounced back and took it on the chin and has been rewarded with a full-time contract with us this season. I expect we will see not just the Relf that we all know, but I think he will be better in all aspects of his game; his preparation, his management and focus, not just in what he displays on the ice. He needs to be more consistent to reach the higher levels of his game because when he does, he is one of the best British players in the league. He has all the attributes; he’s hard hitting, fast skating, has a great shot and has a fantastic first pass. It’s now about him replicating that more consistently.
“When Woody first brought him in to the club he said that Relfy had the ability to make it to the Elite league, he had all the physical attributes – a good first pass, a good hockey brain. He needs to be a little more demanding on his own game. I take great pride in developing defensive responsibilities all over the ice, so we need to make sure we aren’t shipping in goals. He wants to prove himself this year and I am sure he will from the very first game. He’s got a great year ahead of him.”
Tom is looking forward to being a full-time Steeldog again;
“Last year was a weird year for me - I love the Steeldogs and really care for the club but I had to focus on my Masters Degree, focus on my education which was my priority as I’m trying to build a future. Ultimately it was the best of both worlds, I pursued my education while playing for the Steeldogs when I could.
“I’m really happy to be able to commit to the Steeldogs full time this season, it’s the club I love and it is just a very friendly atmosphere around the place. There are good people who run the club and who are involved with the club who just want to try and make the club succeed in every way possible. There is a good ethos surrounding the Steeldogs, it’s something that I really want to be a part of.
“When I came back to play with the Dogs, my thoughts were always to try and prove that I needed to be part of the team going forward. I know I have the capability to play at this level. Now I am returning I just want to show that I am a good fit for the team. It will be good to get back into the nationwide hockey community, see some faces that I’ve played with and against again and work hard for the team to get the edge on them in the head to head games.
“The league is a good standard, a very good quality. The games are fast and exciting and to be honest the league is full of teams where anyone is capable of beating any other team come game time. The NIHL is also a good development league, giving young players the chance to work on their game and make improvements. It will be good for the Steeldogs to build on what they started a few years ago and, since I first joined the club the standard has risen and as a club - I think we have a good shot at challenging for anything and we should be battling for those top positions and challenging every other team in the league.”
Welcome back Tom!
The club would like to thank El Gordo and Jonny Vegas who will be returning as player sponsors to Tom. It’s great to have their continued support.
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