Dave Simms column: ‘True Steeler’ Phil Hill may make us change our mind

Phil Hill - Sheffield Steelers
Phil Hill - Sheffield Steelers

I am someone who has played sport, but not at a high level. And someone who has watched ice hockey and only wished he was wearing the Steelers’ shirt. Do you ever wonder what kind of player you might have been?

Would it have been a silky goal sniper like Kenny Priestlay that you imagine yourself as? Maybe a tough guy? We all like to think of ourselves as that, so perhaps a Dennis Vial or Tim Spencer?

As for me? It would have been Scott Allison. That man did care. He would have run over his own grandmother for his team... which meant he would do it for my team, the Steelers.

I loved how Allison played; 100 per cent. He hit, he fought, he scored.

He was also a bit of an opinionated pain-in-the-backside, something else I quiet liked about him.

On Monday, though, I couldn’t help thinking that I hoped I would also have been a lot like Phil Hill.

Hilly, you will recall, was told by new head coach Paul Thompson that there wasn’t any room left at the inn when it came to putting together his squad for this coming season and that it was time up for the 6ft 3ins winger.

Hilly didn’t accept that.

And I love the fact that he didn’t. He and Paul Thompson thrashed out a deal, meaning Hill would come to the Steelers pre-season training camp and also play in the club’s exhibition games against Braehead Clan and the four Champions League games against Frolunda and Jyvaskyla.

In the past week, it has been confirmed that Hill has signed in Telford Tigers, a good move for him and a smart one as the Welshman has a clause in his Tigers contract that he can leave for the Steelers if he gets offered a full time deal in Sheffield once the CHL campaign is over.

The reality is that Phil Hill loves the Steelers and wants to play for us.

How good, how refreshing is that?

How inspiring that he is saying “I’m going to come to camp in the best shape of any player and prove to you that I’m good enough for your team.”

I’d like to think if I was a player who loved the Steelers as much as I do, that I would do that, too. I have a ton of admiration for Hilly coming out and saying that. Telford shouldn’t be disappointed he is saying that, either.

Here is a guy wanting to play at the best club, at the highest level he can. That’s the quality of the person you could be getting.

You see, Phil Hill only knows one way and that’s the 100 per cent, full-out way. If he makes it with the Steelers, we get him lock, stock and barrel.

If it doesn’t work out, Telford get him, lock, stock and barrel. A fully committed team player and top bloke.

In these days of sports mercenaries, having a guy like Hill gives your faith in human nature a good pat on the back.

I know Phil is full time in the gym right now, skating at his local rink and working towards his goals.

No summer off... this is the commitment you want from your players. These are the kind of players you win with.

There is nothing more I’d love than to be sat in a room when Paul Thompson comes in and says to owner Tony Smith: “We can’t send this bloke to Telford. He has been brilliant for us these past few weeks in the CHL. Tony, we need him... how can we make it happen?”

I hope that day comes. Good on you Hilly... what a proper Steeler you are.