Daniel Bligh, 30, of no fixed abode, appeared at Sheffield Crown Court on Wednesday having been charged with robbery and possession of a bladed weapon.
On December 30 last year, at around 6.45am, Pete Watson was making his deliveries on Canal Street, as he has for the last 38 years, when he was approached by an unknown man.
The man, identified as Bligh, slashed Pete’s hand with a knife before stealing his van.
The vehicle was later found ditched on Lang Avenue in Lundwood.
His wound required 26 stitches and he was left unable to work because of the long-term impact of the trauma caused.
Pete told the Chronicle after the attack that he couldn’t face the risk of returning.
Pete - whose rounds cover Barnsley, Barugh Green, Worsbrough, Silkstone and Penistone - was backed by hundreds of supporters following the attack and garnered more than £1,000 from an online fundraiser.
Detective Constable Rebecca Robinson, the investigating officer with South Yorkshire Police, added: “This was an unprovoked attack on an innocent victim who has served his community for many years and is well respected by all who know him.
“Following the robbery we appealed for information from the public to help us identify the offender and we received information that proved vital in this case.
“I would like to personally thank those people who responded to that appeal as this allowed us to work continuously to get Bligh into custody and build the evidence against him to ensure he would not be released.
“This case shows that the public will not tolerate incidents like this within their community.
“Following the incident, the victim’s family, friends, neighbours and customers rallied round to raise money to help him through his difficult time.
“I think this again demonstrates the great community spirit that we have in Barnsley.
“I am pleased with today’s sentencing and hope that knowing Bligh is being held responsible for his actions will bring some closure to the victim and his family.”