Perhaps only your immediate family, but aside from those special people, nobody in life is indispensable. That’s something we are taught early on in our first serious forays into life.
In Sport and in Hockey the old adage should still stick. Players get old, get slow, get fat, get bored and retire. They are replaced from the plethora of available players out there and life carries on.
Testimonials come and go, players shake hands and most head off into the real world to find a real job.
However, some are harder to replace than others. A few eye brows were raised in particular this summer when Sheffield Steelers legend Jason Hewitt decided to retire. He has of course since signed for Hull in the EPL.
It could be an easy assumption to make that Hewitt’s time was served and that it was time to hang them up.
Hundreds of games for the club he loves, goals, fights, more trophies than most players came ever dream of. All this on the back of a certain amount of limited ability. That isn’t said in a derogatory manner and it’s certainly not a dig; I have every respect for Jason Hewitt and what he has achieved in the British game.
Hewitt – 33 in a few days time, it’s been said was a policeman of the Steelers dressing room. The go to man if a team mate had a problem. The fixer perhaps. The middleman between player and coach. The guy who knows the club inside out. From the fans to the stewards to the sponsors to the owner, Hewitt would be the player to go to if a team mate had a question or a problem.
New imports come and go, new young British guys come in and it’s Hewitt along with captain Jonathon Philips that would have been one of the first to tell them how things are. How things operate. What to say, what not to say.
But now Hewitt is gone and it’s arguably left a missing spoke in the Sheffield wheel. This is no over reaction to the Yorkshire teams results in Europe this week. It’s something I have pondered since I heard the news.
I saw Hewitt as a Russ Cowley type in Sheffield. The Coventry player has said to me numerous times, “I don’t need an A or a C on my shirt for me to be able to convey my thoughts to others in the dressing room” and this I feel is the same with Jason Hewitt.
In rooms all around the Elite League when certain players speak, everyone listens. Tait and Cowley at Coventry, Adam Keefe in Belfast, Matt Keith in Braehead are four that come to mind. Hewitt was certainly a guy that can be included in this list.
Aside from Hewitt’s experience in the British game, there is his character and influence in the dressing room and generally around the Arena on Match days. I have been in his presence albeit watching from a far before and after games, and seen his energy and his obvious love for all things Orange.
A kind of human zebedee at times, he is a loud, brash and a naturally funny individual – a good likeable person who has earned the respect of his peers within the game. A player opposition perhaps fans loved to hate, but that’s a begrudging respect.
Perhaps there may be a way back in to Sheffield for Hewitt later in the season? They say never go back, but surely that wouldn’t be an opportunity he would spurn.
Is it something coach Paul Thompson would even need to give thought to?
Maybe not. In fact, I am sure it wouldn’t happen, decisions are made from both sides for various reasons, but I do wonder whether Sheffield will keep tabs on the Manchester born forwards situation in Hull.
Budgets of course play their part in this and time has to be called on everyone’s career, I understand that, I just wonder whether Sheffield could have waited another season or two before letting this cog drop off their wheel.
Indispensable – no.
Irreplaceable – maybe?