Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe up for European Coach of the Year

Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe with the Elite League trophy (William Cherry/PressEye)
Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe with the Elite League trophy (William Cherry/PressEye)
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe has been listed as one of the nominees for the Coach of the Year at the EHC Hockey Awards.

The Giants chief has had a sensational year, coaching the team to Elite League, Challenge Cup and Erhardt Conference glory in the 2018/19 season.

He also led them to the final of the Elite League play-offs, narrowly missing out on a domestic clean-sweep, and they only lost the Continental Cup on penalty shots too.

Keefe has been a revelation since retiring from the sport and taking over as head coach with the Giants, bringing success back to the franchise.

Since taking the reins at the SSE Arena prior to the 2017/18 season, the 35-year-old has lifted four trophies and has been lauded by players and other coaches alike.

The Canadian has also seen success with the Great British national team, acting as assistant coach to Pete Russell and being part of the staff that led them to back-to-back promotions in the World Championships.

Keefe is currently in Slovakia with the national side as they prepare for their first tilt at the top tier of international ice hockey since 1994.

His competition for the award, which is awarded by the Alliance of European Hockey Clubs (EHC), sees him come up against some of the best coaches globally.

One of the favourites for the award will be Roger Ronnberg, the head coach of Swedish side the Frolunda Indians who won both the Champions Hockey League and Swedish Hockey League.

Also up for it are Antti Pennanen, who led low-budget Finnish side HPK to the Liiga title; Pavel Gross, who coached under-achieving Adler Mannheim to the DEL title; and Kari Jalonen, whose Bern outfit won their second NLA crown in three years.

The winners will be announced at an outdoor ceremony in Prague on June 11.

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