Ben O’Connor answers a few questions.

Ben O’Connor answers a few questions.

16 Nov 2018Robert Newbolt»
 

I caught up with Sheffield Steelers and GB international Ben O'Connor to ask him how ice hockey life has treated him. This is what he had to say.

 
 
 
 

After becoming the first UK player to play in the KHL when he signed for Barys Astana, a change of ownership and thinking freed up the GB international to play for Allsvenskaren side Leksands IF.

As stated below this wasn’t to his liking and Ben decided to renew his acquaintance with a second spell in Sheffield with the Steelers of the EIHL.

He had an immediate impact on the ice and scored in his second game and has since proved a catalyst for the struggling Steelers’ side: and has fast emerged as the best defence man in the Eihl.

I asked for his thoughts on his ice hockey career so far and this is what he said.

WHY DID YOU LEAVE LEKSANDS

I loved my time in Leksand on the ice I was playing well and the team was very happy but when you have a young family things change there is more to life than hockey and I had to do what is best for my family. 

MOST MEMORABLE GAME FOR STEELERS

There has been so many in my time here so far but the double over time playoff final has to been up there along with the come back a week earlier against Nottingham just to get there.


The back to back league titles winning it in the way we did both years last game of the season, like I say so many to choose from. 

MOST MEMORABLE GAME FOR OTHER TEAMS

Has to be the back to back gold medals and last year in Budapest absolutely hands down my biggest and best hockey moment in my life. 

BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON CAREER

Has to be my farther always been there for me never once pushed me. He has given me the same advice since I was a child and still tells me to this day, work hard be a good team mate, smile, follow your heart and be happy. Something as I have grown up I admire and respect him for is he has never been pushy or forced me in to hockey. 

WHICH COACH HAVE YOU MOST ENJOYED PLAYING UNDER

Again every coach has his own ways but Paul Thomson and I had a great working relationship he didn't have to say much to me a look and I knew what he was thinking, he gave me a free rein to be creative but also taught me the D side of the game. Tom had come in and has a great knowledge of the game and his experiences are fun to learn from so I am excited to continue to learn from him. 

MOST FAVOURITE RINK IN ENGLAND

Sheffield hands down 2nd would have to be Nottingham 

LEAST FAVOURITE RINK IN ENGLAND

Manchester 

MOST ADMIRED OTHER PLAYER

Would have to say Jono hardest working player everyday a true pro and I have learnt a lot from him on and off the ice. 

EARLIEST MEMORY OF HOCKEY

Probably puck chase in Durham. Puck chase was an open session where anyone can on with plastic balls and pucks with 6 nets and play was great fun. 

HOW WOULD YOU RANK THE EIHL AGAINST OTHER LEAGUES

Very high, I don't think we get enough credit how good our league is. Not being mainland Europe does not help but as teams have shown in the continental cup and chl we are up there and now with the national team in pool A that's all a result of our domestic league improving each year. 

LONG TERM AMBITION

 Work hard day in day out be a good team mate and turn the rough start round and finish the season strong 

KAZAKSTAN IS PRETTY MUCH A MYSTERY TO MOST HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR TIME OVER THERE (not just the hockey but also the lifestyle)

I loved my time there I was treated very well and as a young player I learnt a lot of valuable lessons on and off the ice. 

BEST THING ABOUT YOUR GAME

Good shot and creativeness 

YOU HAVE PLAYED IN MANY DIFFENT COUNTRIES, WHICH, IN HOCKEY TERMS AND IN GENERAL WAS THE BEST EXPERIENCE.

All the places I have played have been great for my development in different ways. The biggest I would say was Kazakhstan I was there 3 and a half years for 10 months a year reporting to camp on July 1st and doing 3 sometimes 4 a days off ice on ice training it was crazy but really improved my skating and speed. 

My gracious thanks go to Ben for taking the time out to answer these questions.

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