It was the 27th April when we finally announced Danny Stewart as the new coach. As much as I am a volunteer, I still see him as a boss.
There is something about Stewart that scares me. Not in a bad way. But when I see his number on my phone, I sit up. When I see his email address pop up in my inbox, it gets opened straight away.
It’s the way it has to be. Paul Thompson is the same. Numerous times I have had David Simms on the phone to me, only for him to cut the call short as ‘Thommo’ is calling him. Panic sets in the Brummies voice as he yells “Got to go Thommo is trying to get me” and the phone goes dead. He doesn’t even say goodbye!
All of sudden, I am completely insignificant to Simms. Or less significant then I ever was! But that’s the way it should be, its respect to his boss, his Head Coach.
From day one, Stewart has impressed with his attitude and clear thinking. Obviously this is a guy who will be nobody’s fool. Everyone in the Blaze camp will be certain of that, if they are not now, then they will be in the future.
From the fans to the players to the owners, everyone will be clear Danny is in charge.
Stewart is here to to compete, he isn’t here for a good time. He isn’t here as a stepping stone to something bigger or better, he is here to try to get the Blaze back to their rightful place within British Ice Hockey.
The Coventry Blaze are simply not an 8th place team. That was unacceptable to every fan that paid their hard earned money to watch the boys. Its Stewart’s job to change this, and it starts from the top down.
The words “compete” and “being competitive” are words fans will get sick of. I expect Stewart to use them in every Media Conference we do. But they are important words, and the roster is built with this mentality this in mind. We will compete. We have to compete.
The roster Stewart has put together has been impressive from the outset, its easy to get carried away with new signings, Elite Prospects only tells a fraction of every players story. Every player has filled a spot, and every player has their part to play in the system and structure.
It’s seemingly a completely different set of thinking to last years recruitment. In retrospect, that’s great news.
Stewart has been thorough, patient and clever with the players he has put together. Today’s 5pm announcement goes further to prove this. I tweeted the other day about “their being only one Mike Egener”. Well Danny has found another one. A younger, quicker one – no offence Eggie.
Last season left a lot to be desired, let’s not pull punches. Let’s shoot from the hip, it finished in tears and at times, there were occasions through the season, where there was many a puzzled face. Lessons have been learned and the decks have been cleared. We start again. A fresh start for everyone.
It takes a brave, nay, stupid man to stand up and say, this season will be different. But I guarantee this group of guys that the feisty Canadian has put together will die trying to be the best. And that is all we can ask and all we can expect.
I am off to Mallorca with the girls tonight. A few hours after the new and final import is announced. How’s that for timing?
See you all soon.