Sheffield Steelers legend Ron Shudra believes Jonathan Phillips is up there among the pantheon of greats at the club ahead of a huge weekend.
Phillips will reach an incredible 1,000th appearance in all Elite League competitions when Steelers take on Coventry Blaze on Saturday.
And Shudra believes Phillips’ achievement is massive for any sport as he prepares to cross the four-figure threshold.
“It’s absolutely huge and for anyone in the sporting world to get to that sort of milestone, it’s such a phenomenal achievement and Jonathan’s such a fantastic guy and a great captain since he’s been here,” he said.
“He’s the heartbeat of the club and whenever things needed to be sorted, he was always there and went out to sort it and get it going for anybody and everybody that he could.
“Jonathan is the heart of the club no matter what line he plays in. He’s always been that way and for him to accomplish this feat is unbelievable and I’m supremely impressed at how he’s done it.
“Jonathan is way up with us for sure in terms of club legends. He’s without a doubt a legend of the Elite League era and through thick and thin, he’s been a major constant and a huge part of all the championships.
“We were lucky enough to be part of the beginning of the Steelers and he’s one of the reasons why things have kept on going the way they have.”
Shudra himself is seen as a legendary figure as the Steelers’ all-time top points scorer, with 792 points from his 626 games between 1991 and 2006.
His name lives on currently, with son Cole part of Aaron Fox’s team this season and Shudra senior told of the qualities that has made Phillips a huge success.
And he reckons the fans will more than do their bit to make Saturday a truly special one for their captain.
Shudra added: “The amount of work Jonathan puts in is great and it’s a fantastic thing to show younger players what you have to do and how hard you have to work to prepare you for playing in these professional leagues.
“With Cole, my son, he sees how hard Jonathan worked off the ice and the effort he puts in and Cole tries to emulate that in the off season. It’s not just that, but on ice as well with the intensity and effort that he gives.
“He’s not one to take things easy on his own team-mates. He lets guys know, as a captain he should, whether guys are performing or they’re not and for a British guy to do that with some high class imports that come in and have the respect of those guys, that’s a talent and an ability on itself.
“You look at him and the intensity of preparation he gives in every game, it’s incredible and for him to play another three, four or even five years at this level is not beyond him.
“I know the fans will come out and I know how much they appreciate him. You talk to people around the team and the fans and his name always comes up of just how hard he works for the club.
“I’m a big fan of his as well and it’s something I’ve always been impressed with in my involvement with the Steelers in the six years or so and I think the fans will definitely make it a great night. They love him and they’ll do their best to appreciate him.”