Belfast Giants coach Doug Christiansen was last night appointed to the coaching staff of the Great Britain international team.
Christiansen’s selection means that the GB set-up will now have a strong Belfast connection, with former Odyssey chief Tony Hand named as the new head coach last week.
Paul Thompson’s decision to step down last month after four years at the helm came after he transformed the team from also-rans in the B Division of the World Championships into one that has been on the brink of qualifying to compete with the top nations.
Hand, who was Giants coach during the 2004-05 season, has agreed to a four year term as Great Britain coach, although initially Christiansen will only be involved at this season’s World Championship tournament in Slovenia in April.
“I am extremely honoured to join to the coaching staff of the Great Britain national team,” said Christiansen.
“I am excited to work for Tony. He has been extremely helpful to me throughout my coaching career and we have built an excellent relationship.
“Our shared coaching experiences in Edinburgh and Belfast have given us a lot to talk about and I have learned from many of his experiences.
“Tony and I share a tremendous passion for the game and I expect that energy to be shown by the players throughout the tournament.
“I will do my best to continue to develop the British game and assist Tony in achieving his team goals.
“Paul Thompson and Rob Wilson have left big shoes to fill, but we are going to do our best to build off their excellent foundation. I know our pool is very difficult, but we will make sure to assemble a team that can make the nation proud.”
Hand, who is now coach of Manchester Phoenix, said: “Doug is a very thorough and experienced coach who has done a fantastic job in Belfast.
“I’ve no doubt he will do the same for GB and I look forward to working with him at the World Championship in Slovenia.”