Dave Simms column: the real reason why Sheffield Steelers signed Paul Thompson

Dave Simms column
Dave Simms column
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If one more person tells me that the Sheffield Steelers have signed have signed my best mate...!

No, the real story is that Sheffield Steelers have signed the very best coach available.

I have seen Paul grow from a rough-around-the-edges coach in Solihull and then progress through the leagues with Coventry learning his trade to become the most successful head coach in EIHL history.

Turning a club that had no right to dominate into a powerhouse, winning multiple trophies and championships.

I saw Paul coach young kids and NHL veterans. I saw him looked down upon from other North American coaches when he was breaking through – why, because he spoke with an English accent.

I saw him fight through, educate himself and develop into a coach that others could only dream of becoming.

Paul took on the national team when no one else wanted it, when it had reached the bottom of the pile.

He was the reason that GB rose through the ranks, won Bronze and Silver medals at the World Championships.

He brought tactical knowledge and pride back in playing for your country.

I have seen work from close hand, seen how he prepares, how he manages and how he coaches.

I believe he is the best hockey coach ever to stand behind a bench in this country and that he will prove that here in Sheffield.

He can be thoughtful and diligent, he can also be animated and ruthless.

He has determination to better himself, having achieved everything in the British game including four league titles and a Grand Slam to move away from his wife and two kids and engross himself in first Swedish and then Danish hockey.

How many other British coaches have coached in Sweden?

The Sheffield Steelers will be a very different club under him.

He will bring to Sheffield what the rest of Europe have been doing for years.

He has again re-educated himself, made himself better.

Yes, Paul Thompson is my best mate and I am proud to say that.

Don’t think for a moment though that he is here because of that.

Paul is here because there isn’t a better man for the job of coaching this hockey club.