Where Are They Now? Steve Webb

Where Are They Now? Steve Webb

I am proud to reinstall the Where Are They Now section to The Checking Line. Every Thursday from now until the NHL season begins I will give Islanders fans an in depth look at what some of their favorite former Islanders are up to now. It will happen on Thursdays because of a popular social media trend #throwbackthursday or as some will use #tbt. As I posted on Twitter recently I would love to hear from you the readers and the fans who you might like to see me profile.

Where Are They Now?

The first player to be featured is Steve Webb. Islanders fans will remember Steve Webb as an enforcer on the ice which included hard open ice checks on opponents. During his 8 seasons in the NHL, Webb was a member of the Islanders organization from 1996 through 2003 followed by a short stint for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2003-2004 season before being traded back to the Islanders that year.

Steve Webb was a 7th round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 1994. After being drafted he returned to junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League playing for the Windsor Spitfires and Peterborough Petes. Following his time in the OHL, he split a season between the Muskegon Fury of the Colonial Hockey League and the Detroit Vipers of the International Hockey League before his call up to the Islanders in 1996. His first 3 NHL seasons were split with the Islanders and their American Hockey League affiliates at the time, the Kentucky Thoroughblades and the Lowell Lock Monsters.

From 1999-2003, Webb played for the Islanders which included a career high 65 games in the 1999-2000 season and a career high 147 penalty minutes in the 2000-2001 season. He didn’t score many goals but Islanders fans will always remember him for his physical play on the ice especially during the 2001-2002 season when they made the playoffs in that memorable 7 game series with the Toronto Maple Leafs including an open ice hit on Darcy Tucker following the game where Michael Peca was injured after a Tucker hit. Fans at Nassau Coliseum will remember the loud chants of “STEVE WEBB” after big hits on opponents such as Tucker and former Ranger Theo Fleury. (Photo Credit- www.2ljworld.com)

Click here to watch one of Webb’s open ice hits from that series in 2002 with the Maple Leafs at the conclusion of the 2nd period of one of the playoff games at Nassau Coliseum. The second clip click here to see a hit he made on Montreal Canadieans goalie Jeff Hackett in 1999.

At the conclusion of the 2003 season, Webb signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins but he didn’t have a long stay as he was later sent down to play fortheir AHL affiliate the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He was traded back to the Islanders that season, but played a few games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers before coming back to the Islanders and then he retired after the 2003-2004 season.

Following his playing career, Steve Webb stayed involved with the game of hockey. He is currently a divisional player representative for the NHLPA where he provides support to the the Player Representatives on each NHL team and help facilitate communication between the entire membership and the NHLPA office.  He is also currently the Assistant Coach of the Long Island Royals, a team in the Atlantic Metropolitan Hockey League located in Kings Park, NY. From 2006-2008 Webb was also working for the Islanders in a Player Development role.

Another one of his post NHL career positions involves the local community. In May 2007, he launched the W20 Foundation (“W” for Webb’s last name and “20” for the number he wore for the majority of his career) and the goal was to for the post-secondary dreams of young hockey players who would otherwise be unable to afford it.

Webb in a 2011 interview with The Hockey News said he credits the NHL for making sure players get involved in charity work in the cities in which they play - has continued to have a close relationship with Long Island and its hockey fans. "The community has been great; they have really embraced us," Webb said. “There are more than seven million people here so it's not easy for a smaller foundation like ours to get noticed, but the community has been really supportive. People here appreciate hard work."

My Take

Steve Webb bought the energy and passion that the Islanders needed especially during the 2002 playoffs. I’m not the kind of hockey fan who just wants guys on a team that can score 40 goals. It is important to have guys on the team who make a difference in the game not just by scoring goals and that’s what Webb gave to the Islanders and the fans. His physical presence and passion on the ice was one that Islanders fans will always look back on when you look at those teams from the early 2000’s. This is the type of presence that Cal Clutterbuck could bring to this year’s team plus more as he has goal scoring in his game. Webb wasn’t known for scoring goals or making plays with the puck but his physical play and passion he will always be remembered for in Islanders history. (Photo Credit- www.newyorkislanders.com)

Next week we look back at another member of the 2001-2002 Islanders, Shawn Bates.

-John Santamaria

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