Adey ready to set sail at Belfast Giants
Published 11/05/2013 | 08:00
New Belfast Giants coach Paul Adey has promised that the team will entertain the fans after being named as the successor to Doug Christiansen.
And the aim of entertainment on the ice will be helped by the re-signing of three of last season's top players for the new campaign.
Goaltender Stephen Murphy, defenceman Robby Sandrock and forward Colin Shields – who is now the club's record points scorer – have agreed new deals with the Giants and former player Kevin Phillips will return next season, too.
Together with the earlier re-signings of Adam Keefe, Darryl Lloyd, Mark Garside, David Phillips and Jeff Mason, Adey is well on his way to building a team to challenge the Nottingham Panthers' domination of the trophies last time out.
"The team I was with this year, the one thing that the fans said was that it was probably the most entertaining team that they watched," said Adey, who left Italian side Pusteria Wolves at the end of their season.
"I want us to be creative, we will play to a system – which may be different from the other teams.
"I prefer to edge to the offensive side rather than the defensive side. If we play well, play an exciting brand of hockey and win games people will be happy."
Adey has spent the last seven years between Italy and Switzerland, but after spending a decade as a player with the Nottingham Panthers before returning as coach, his family home is in the area and a return to the Elite League has been on his agenda for some time, but it's only now that the right opportunity has come.
"I knew that I would come back to the Elite League one day and as a coach you see what opportunities come up and if there is a spot that you think might suit you then you find out about it and you make a call and sometimes teams come to you," he said.
"There are only a few teams that I would have come back here to coach and Belfast is obviously one of them.
"When I was away I always kept an eye on the Elite League, who is playing for who, who was playing well both in terms of the teams and the players," he said.
"I was always kept informed about the up-and-coming players, too.
"I did it just by interest and not for recruitment, but it's been worthwhile."
The Giants' failure to win any of the three major pieces of silverware last season, followed by Christiansen's departure to Sheffield just over 24 hours after the Play-off final defeat to Nottingham, left many fans concerned for the future.
The pressure to deliver success for the Giants will be on Adey from day one – as has been the case for his predecessors – and he is ready to meet such a challenge head on.
"Nottingham are obviously the team to beat.
"They have set the bar and have set a very high standard. We have to be up to that standard," said Adey.
"We have to do our best to change that, it's not going to be easy and it's going to be a big challenge.
"Wherever you go everybody wants to win, everybody wants trophies – that's a norm for a coach.
"It's part of the job and I'm happy to take it on."