Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Steve Thornton's strategies are bearing fruit

Steve Thornton of the Belfast Giants
Steve Thornton of the Belfast Giants

By Stuart McKinley

When you're a coach or a manager and things haven't gone as you'd hoped or expected you can do one of two things:

A. Walk away thinking that you've given all you can and let someone else have a go or B. Clear the decks, re-build and come back stronger and more determined to succeed.

Luckily for the Belfast Giants, in Steve Thornton they have a coach that would only ever go for option B.

His off-season recruitment tactics are ruthless and, even though it's only seven weeks since the Play-off finals weekend, Thornton's strategy is already bearing fruit.

Not only has he greatly strengthened his own team, he has blunted the opposition by taking Matt Nickerson from Fife, Chris Higgins and Jonathan Boxill from Nottingham - and more importantly, Mike Forney from the Steelers.

Whatever propaganda that might come out of Sheffield suggesting that they didn't want to keep him anyway, do you really believe that the second highest goalscorer in the league last season wasn't wanted by the club that he scored all those goals for?

It's similar to Manchester United signing Diego Costa, or in a local context Linfield snapping up one of Crusaders' big three, Jordan Owens, Gavin Whyte or Paul Heatley.

All the other Elite League teams, though, are doing the same. That, however, is a good thing for ice hockey fans because that means it's going to be a season to relish.

Belfast Telegraph


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