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Off-Ice: An interview with Adam Keefe

Needing no introduction is Adam Keefe, Head Coach of the Belfast Giants since 2017. Keefe has recently been shortlisted for the European Coach of the Year award. The nomination for the award comes after Keefe led the Giants to success in the Elite League and Challenge Cup in 2018/19. Check out this exclusive insight into what life is like for the head coach!

What is a typical game day for you?

Wake up, COFFEE, head to the arena for pre-game practice/prep. More COFFEE. More pregame prep work. More COFFEE. Have my pregame lunch with the lovely Giants staff. Drive home for a quick visit with Colleen and my dogs. Put the suit on. More COFFEE. Drive back to SSE. More pregame prep. 5:15 PM pregame meeting with players. More pregame prep. 7 pm game time. 9:30pm-12am Postgame analysis & Pre-prep for the game the next night. Repeat.

What’s the favorite part of your job?

The challenge of bringing trophies back to Belfast. It’s the hunt for success week in and week out throughout an 8-month process. There are many highs and lows along the way. But if we are successful at the end of the season it makes it all worth it. 

What age were you when you started playing ice hockey?

I started playing hockey at age 4. In Canada, I think you learn to skate before you can ride a bike. I’m very thankful my parents gave me the opportunity to play and be involved in this sport for a living. 

Who inspired you as a young athlete?

My brother has always been an inspiration for me throughout my hockey career. Following in his footsteps has been a very hard task. But he has been nothing but great for me in my young coaching career. 

What qualities in a teammate make a good captain?

Be a good human, be passionate about this team, your teammates, this city and play every game like it’s your last and you’ll make a good Belfast Giants Captain.

Do you think attitude is a factor in winning?

Absolutely. It’s a long season and you need everyone to leave their egos at the door and come to work every day with the right attitude. Positivity is the most important. We want positive people here. We play a game for a living. Everyone should be happy to come to work.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the Belfast Giants since your arrival in 2011?

From my time here in 2011, I’ve seen the organization and fan base grow continuously year after year. We have all been through so many Highs & Lows together. That creates a special bond throughout the organization, and we all know we are in this together. The biggest change I think is that the Giants are starting to get some mainstream respect in the sporting community here in Belfast. Hopefully, it’ll continue to grow and evolve enough that we can get a few more arenas on the island. 

What has been the Belfast Giants biggest achievement?

We have many big achievements together as an organization. Winning 3 trophies last season and missing out on the other 2 in the finals must go down as the most successful Giants season ever, I would assume. Bringing the Boston Bruins here for an Exhibition game and bringing the Friendship Four NCAA tournament here must go up there as a very big achievement as well for this club.

What makes you proud to be a part of the Belfast Giants?

Being a part of the CULTURE this organization has created in its rich 20-year history. We don’t just stress winning. We want good people here in Belfast who get it and want to make this organization better every year. We want people who want to be here and want to be Belfast Giants.