General Manager Todd Kelman has made it official today – Steve Thornton is the new Head Coach of the Belfast Giants. Thornton is a former Giant star, and was a member of the playoff winning side from 2003.
“I got the guy that I wanted for the job and I am excited about having Steve Thornton on board for next season,” said Kelman.
“I spoke to a lot of potential coaches but Steve had all the qualities I was looking for. He is a true professional, on and off the ice, and lives and breathes ice hockey. His biggest strengths are his ability to recruit, how well he knows the league, his on-ice systems and his knowledge of the game.”
“He has played all across Europe and over his career has played for some of the best coaches in the world. The systems he has for our team next year are impressive and I think his approach to this team will give the guys every chance to win on the ice and will make players buy into the winning formula.”
“Rumours were flying all weekend long in Nottingham and we didn’t do much to squash them. I had players from other teams coming up to me every day asking about Thornton and wanting to be a part of what we are hoping to build here in Belfast over the next few years. That immediately shows me the respect he has from players around the league.”
Steve Thornton is pleased to be coming back to Belfast and is looking forward to getting started immediately.
“I plan on being in Belfast within the next 14 days, as soon as I can find a house and get my family moved over. It’s a high profile job and the first thing I told Todd was that I wanted to be based in Belfast and become part of the community. I want my kids to go to school here and my wife and I to make our home in Northern Ireland. I remember the days of sold out arenas and the incredible relationship our team had with our fans and the city in general. That is so important to making the Giants succeed in Belfast and I plan on getting that buzz about the Giants back.”
Todd and I are planning a meet and greet with the fans within the first few days I get over to Belfast. I’m sure I will remember a few of the faces from five years ago. I will hopefully have a few signings to announce by then as well.”
This year in 35 games, Thornton tallied 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points before his season was cut short with a hand injury that eventually required surgery. The 35 year old Thornton is the fifth head coach in Giants history.