The LBM Belfast Giants will have a new coach next season, and his name is Doug Christiansen. The 31 year old from Milwaukee, Wisconsin will take over from the departing Steve Thornton who has accepted a job offer outside of hockey in his hometown of Ottawa, Canada.
Last month, Christiansen was selected as Coach of the Year by the British Ice Hockey Writer’s Association and the past three seasons, he has been in charge of the Edinburgh Capitals leading them, on a shoestring budget, to sixth place in the Elite League last season, their highest ever position.
“It’s a tremendous honour to be put in charge of an organisation with such a successful history as the Belfast Giants. I think Steve Thornton has done a wonderful job of assembling a winning team over the last couple of years and his are big shoes to fill but faith has been put in me to continue the tradition of winning trophies and it’s humbling but very exciting to get this opportunity,” explained Christiansen.
Christiansen becomes the sixth coach in Giants history and he joins the franchise with the likes of netminder Stephen Murphy and forwards Craig Peacock, Evan Cheverie and Colin Shields already signed up for next season.
“The Giants are a championship contender year after year and I think with the foundation of players we have returning, if I can add some effective signings and good people there’s no reason why we can’t win the title and that’s why I came to Belfast. This isn’t about blowing everything up and starting anew. There will be players who have retired or will move on after last season but there are guys who will be waiting to see who the new coach is and what I’m all about and it’s now my job to convince them of my vision and how I want to go about helping them to continue their success. There are definitely a number of players on last year’s roster I’d like to see back in Belfast next year,” added Christiansen.
“I’m a confident person and I wouldn’t have taken the job if I didn’t think I could continue the success that Steve Thornton has had but I believe in myself, my work ethic and my preparation and I’m certain I will not get outworked this summer and we’ll make sure we have the best players we can possibly have. My goal is to build a team that will continue winning championships in Belfast because that’s what the fans want and that’s what I want.”