Coventry Blaze forward Brett Robinson says the atmosphere in the team’s locker room is one of the best he has ever experienced.
The Canadian forward graduated from Mercyhurst College (NCAA) before spending six years in the ECHL with Cincinnati, Greenville and Idaho. He also had a brief spell in the CHL with Quad City.
The 30 year-old won the Kelly Cup in his first year as a professional with Cincinnati Cyclones, scoring the winning goal under current Blaze Head Coach Chuck Weber.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here,” said Robinson. “Obviously we’ve had some tough times on the ice, but in recent weeks we’ve shown that on our night we can beat any team in this league.
“We are going in the right direction. Everyone in the locker room is great. We all care and we want to win.
“Our British players are some of the best on any team. The line of Ash (Tait), Russ (Cowley) and Ross (Venus) can score on any given night and they aren’t going to give up many goals as they are some of the most responsible players.”
In his bid to settle life in Britain and the Elite League, Robinson says he’s looked to vastly experienced skipper Ashley Tait for advice.
“He always works so hard – he’s 40 years-old!” he said. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. How good he is and how in shape he is and how committed he is to the team?
“He is a great captain and leader. He’s not the guy who is yelling or shouting all the time, but everyone listens. Everyone respects him and me especially, I really look up to him.”
Blaze struggled for form in the early part of the season, but victories against Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham Panthers during December boosted their hopes of a top-eight finish.
“My line with (Drew) Fisher and (Jordan) Pietrus has been clicking and our other scoring line has been putting up points too,” Robinson said.
“We hope to add another forward to the mix and then obviously we have Brian Stewart in net who can shut out any team, any time.
“When you’re losing a lot of the blame falls on the goalie and, whether it’s his fault or not, ‘Stewy’ takes it that way. He can play phenomenal, but if we lose he still takes the blame. He’s one of, if not the best goalie I’ve played with for sure.”
One familiar face for Robinson on the Blaze roster is Kevin Noble. The pair were teammates at Mercyhurst and Robinson recalls the defenseman employing some odd training techniques.
“It was maybe an hour after everyone had got off the ice and were leaving, but there was this kid, I didn’t know his name yet, but he was still out on the ice, sliding on his side from the net out to the blueline pretending to block shots!
“No one was shooting at him. Me and the other guys just looked at each other and said, ‘that guy’s going to have a tough year this year’.
“As you can tell though, all that practice has worked out because he’s very good at blocking shots. At first though, we were all like is this guy for real? But, he is and that’s why you grow to love him.
“He’s willing to do whatever it takes to win. He’s willing to block shots and dive in front of pucks with his face. He’s definitely one of a kind – he’s unique.
“He’s a character and a guy that you like having in the room and he’s a guy you definitely don’t want to play against.”
(Image permission: Scott Wiggins)