Nathan Ripley signs for the Steeldogs
The past month has seen the Bradfield Brewery Sheffield Steeldogs regularly playing short-benched with leading players missing through injury. This adversity has led to some great results powered by strong performances from less experienced members of the squad.
This tough period has also created an opportunity for one of our prospects and we are very happy to confirm that Nathan Ripley has been signed as a full-time Steeldog.
Nathan, who turns 18 in April, started the season on our Prospects Programme and Ben Morgan drafted him in to the squad in early December.
The Coach explains more about the arrival of the newest ‘pup’ to The Pound;
“Nathan is a lad we've known for 12-18 months and the short numbers we've had recently due to injuries has opened up an opportunity for him that he's taken with both hands. Right from the first game down in Basingstoke he put in some really good shifts, he got maybe 8 or 9 that night and ever since then has shown his qualities. He's made a real impact, taken his opportunity and hopefully can continue to grow within the team.
“Like most younger guys, he's kept his head down, he's relatively quiet in the room but he listens to feedback and works to improve shift by shift. He's got a lot to offer and has already shown a real ability for creating turnovers and hounding defenceman down. He's got real tenacity, plays all over the ice and he skates fantastically well. Nathan has bags and bags of energy but coupled with that he's got a nice little bit of skill, good hands. His awareness will improve as he plays more but so far he's made fantastic strides.
“He's been thrust in to the limelight and this is an opportunity for him to stake his claim for when guys are back from injury. He's impressing right now but he knows he's still a long way from being the finished article but he's working one game at a time and trying to better his game every week.”
Nathan, who is wearing #29 for the Dogs, has spoken about his early experiences as a Steeldog;
“It was really good to be asked to join, exciting to be moving up to the next level. I've been playing in the under 18s but this is a more physical style of hockey that I enjoy playing in. It's the next step in hockey, playing against bigger, faster players. Having been around the team on the Prospect Programme I'm not a completely new face to the team which helped, and I think that's helped me fit in quickly. There's also guys I played with in juniors so I think I've slotted in ok.
“I've really enjoyed my first few weeks with the team. There have been some different kinds of teams we've played against, with different strengths and weaknesses so different challenges to take on. I've also played with different guys in that time; some centres like you to skate with the puck, others want you to put it in deep, so I'm trying to adapt my play in every game. The team are all really easy to get on with, have a good laugh with and they're really supportive - if you mess up, they don't have a go at you, they just talk about what to do next time. I’ve come close to scoring a few times - hopefully I might get a goal soon but I'll keep working hard and see what happens.”
Welcome to the Steeldogs Nathan!
United Carpets and Beds will be player sponsors for Nathan and we thank them for their continued support.
Nathan and the guys will be in action again this weekend as we take on the MK Lightning. MK are one of the form sides in the league but the Dogs will up for the challenge again. Faceoff returns to our normal time of 4:30 on Sunday, so join us at The Pound to see if the team can make it four home wins in a row.
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