EXCLUSIVE: Sheffield Steelers sack title-winning coach Gerad Adams

Gerad Adams: axed
Gerad Adams: axed
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Sheffield Steelers did what seems the unthinkable today - dismissing the coach who has just made them League champions.

Gerad Adams was relieved of command just 15 days after also taking his team to the Play Off final.

The Canadian, who also got his side to the Challenge Cup final last season and coached them to a Play Off championship in 2014, appeared to possess all the tools to take Sheffield forward next season.

But his second full-season contract was terminated by owner Tony Smith, who is looking for a radical overhaul and modernisation of leadership roles.

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It is highly likely the club already has a replacement in mind - but there is nothing official being made public.

Whatever the case, this is one of the biggest calls in Steeler history...and Smith clearly thought it was worth the gamble.

With his eyes on expanding the club and with an under-20 side, and a European campaign ahead, Smith wants a full-time multi-level approach to management.

Adams, who has a wife and young family, told The Star he was ‘frustrated and disappointed.

“I delivered a title that the organisation had been after some time, so I leave with my head held high. I am very proud of what I achieved and will conduct myself now on a professional basis.”

Just days before the Play Off finals, Adams described the Steelers ideology as a “success monster...everybody expects to win.”

Now that monster has chewed him up, liked a lot of what they tasted, but then spat him out.

Sport can be a cruel business - but at the end of the day it is a business and Steelers clearly want their fans to believe a change at the top will safeguard the future.

The club this afternoon put out this statement: “ The Sheffield Steelers confirm that they have released Gerad Adams from his contract with the club.

“The decision comes after an end of season review by club ownership and management on the direction the Steelers need to take moving forward.

“Next season the Steelers will participate in the Champions Hockey League as well as all three EIHL competitions. The Steelers also intend to fully commit to a new under 20’s development side.

“Firstly we would like to thank Gerad for his work and achievements during his time with us” said owner Tony Smith “winning the league title on the back of the previous years play off success is something he should be very proud of.

“The Steelers are and remain a great team. We feel now is the right time to push forward and ensure we are known in all hockey circles as a great club.

“Our new head coach will be responsible for this task. The Steelers will take the Champions league most seriously and as a club we want to build the foundations in Sheffield that ensures we are regular participants in this event.

“This means a successful and aggressive under 20’s side that will furnish the Steelers with excellent British players to accompany the best imports the club can find.

“This task requires experience in team and club management as well as coaching at a high level.

“Work is already underway on Gerad’s replacement as well as new players.

“”I want an exciting Steelers side built on speed and skill. A team who can excite our fans for 60 minutes every night. I want the fittest, fastest and most competitive side here in Sheffield. I want it to be the most prepared side on and off the ice.

“Maybe it’s a culture change I am asking for. Modern day sport requires a team of full time professionals. On and off the ice. If we are going to give our players the best possible chance to win then we must back them off the ice and behind the scenes with the best staff available.”

Adams must now start to try and find alternative employment - possibly at another Elite League club.