Leeds Knights’ Brandon Whistle secures two-way deal with Sheffield Steelers
BRANDON WHISTLE is clear that his first priority this season will be to ensure Leeds Knights live up to their promise and challenge for NIHL National silverware.
But he can’t deny that, alongside that ambition, he is excited to be given a second chance to prove he can cut it at the Elite League level.
The 23-year-old has agreed a two-way deal with Sheffield Steelers for the 2021-22 campaign, seeing him reunited with the club that gave him his first taste of UK hockey back in 2018.
The season that followed proved a tough time for Whistle and fellow Leeds signings Kieran Brown and Jordan Griffin -both at the Steelers as apprentices at the same time - all three finding ice time hard to come by after the mid-season departure of head coach Paul Thompson.
Opportunities for top-flight ice time may prove few and far between under Steelers’ head coach Aaron Fox this time around, but Whistle is grateful for the opportunity to prove himself capable of cutting it at that level should the opportunity arise.
“Leeds are my first priority, that’s clear, but if there are some days where either we don’t have a game or there’s a midweek game where Sheffield needs a guy, hopefully there’s an opportunity for me to go there and play,” said Whistle, who finds himself in Yorkshire once again thanks to his father, Knights head coach Dave.
“Ice time was difficult to come by last time I was in Sheffield but I don’t think I did myself any favours with the shape I was in.
“I might have got to play in about 50 games that year, but I probably had about 50 shifts. So it’s a complete reset this year and I’m excited to go in and show what I can do.”
Fox said Whistle would practice with the Steelers whenever his Leeds commitments allowed, with the potential option for the Canadian-born forward to be available for at least 20 games.
“We all realise that Brandon has really put the work in over the last two years and shown a commitment to hockey and being a professional,” said Fox.
“He has a real opportunity to be a good player at the EIHL level and am excited to have him back in Sheffield on this two-way deal and, hopefully, help him get to that level.”