Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Matsos keen on return as Belfast Giants coach

Dave Matsos:Ice Hockey/Belfast Giants
Dave Matsos:Ice Hockey/Belfast Giants

Former Belfast Giants title winning winger Dave Matsos has publicly declared his interest in returning to the Odyssey as coach.

And, as the Giants hunt for a successor to Doug Christiansen after he left for the Sheffield Steelers, Matsos — who won the league while in charge of the Yorkshire club in 2008 as well as the Play-off championship, which he won again in 2009 — believes he would be returning to the Elite League as a better coach.

Matsos is currently the assistant coach of the Windsor Spitfires, a junior team in his native Ontario that is part of the feeder system to the top leagues in north-America, including the NHL.

The opportunity to coach the Giants, however, is one that is very appealing to the 39-year-old.

“I loved it in Belfast and my wife did too,” said Matsos, speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph from his home in Ontario.

“I have a three-year contract here and I am going into year two of that, but I have an escape clause for this reason.

“I don’t know if the Belfast Giants would be interested in me. Todd Kelman may be looking for some new blood, but I would be interested in talking to him.”

Matsos was a hugely popular figure in Belfast and he was thought to be in the running to take the coaching job with the Giants three years ago when Christiansen replaced Steve Thornton.

He walked out on the Steelers later than summer after a fall-out with the club’s former owner.

He has a proven track record after his success in Sheffield and is hungry for more.

“I am the assistant coach here, but the job isn’t a lot different to being on the bench in Sheffield,” said Matsos.

“I am working with NHL players and our head coach went to the NHL to coach there.

“I can’t believe that I have learned so much from this experience.

“We were winning in Sheffield, we had success and I think I had a clue what I was doing.”

Both Matsos and his family have a desire to return to Europe, where he spent seven years as a player, in Germany, Belfast and Cardiff, before coaching in Sheffield for three.

“My wife and I do talk about Europe and we are not opposed to going back at some stage,” he said.

“We were never homesick for Canada in the whole time that we were away, but we do feel like we miss Europe.”

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