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Walser's successor will be expected to end the longest drought in Giants' history

 

By Stuart McKinley

Steve Thornton has promised Belfast Giants fans that he will make a quick appointment as head coach.

And in the wake of Derrick Walser's departure as player-coach the club is placing silverware at the top of the to-do list for whoever is employed as his replacement.

Walser revealed that his two-year spell in Belfast was over via his Twitter account on Saturday night, followed shortly after by a statement from the Giants in which they confirmed that he wouldn't be offered a contract extension.

Thornton, the Giants' director of hockey operations, has already started work on assembling next season's squad. Now he has a coach to employ too and the new man's remit will be to end the longest trophy drought in the club's history.

"We will endeavour to fill the position of head coach as soon as possible," said Thornton, who was coach of the team during the 2014-15 season before appointing Walser to take over the reins.

"Player recruitment is already under way for the 2017-18 season where competing for all Elite League trophies will be our main aim."

Under Walser the team did compete for all the major prizes in the season just finished, but second obviously wasn't good enough. The Giants finished runners-up in the Elite League behind Cardiff Devils and fell at the semi-final stage of both the Challenge Cup and play-offs.

Thornton, who led the Giants to Challenge Cup and play-off success during his first spell as coach from 2008 to 2010, may well have to search for a new captain with Adam Keefe - who has fulfilled that role for the last five years - indicating that he is considering his future.

Belfast Telegraph

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