Sheffield Steelers go for Doug Christiansen

Doug Christiansen - on his way to Sheffield Steelers
Doug Christiansen - on his way to Sheffield Steelers
0
Have your say

SHEFFIELD Steelers will unveil Doug Christiansen as their new coach today.

They offered the 6ft 5ins American a two-year contract only hours after his current team, Belfast Giants, lost in Play Off final to Nottingham Panthers.

It is certainly been a roller-coaster of emotions for the 34-year-old. His Irish side were beaten in overtime after battling back from 2-0 down.

After that heart-wrenching disappointment, he then had to turn his mind to a new challenge: the offer of rebuilding a Steelers club who finished empty-handed for the second year running.

And the daunting mission is to dislodge Nottingham as the power house in British ice hockey.

Christiansen was unavailable last night, but there was no doubt he would welcome the biggest challenge in the domestic sport.

His arrival will be a disappointment for the likes of former Steelers Ed Courtenay, Dave Whistle and Paul Adey, all of whom have expressed a private interest.

Steelers owner Tony Smith has declined to discuss candidates and wouldn’t be drawn on Christiansen, last night.

But he did acknowledge any coach brought into replace Ryan Finnerty had a big task on his hands.

“It will be a tall order to challenge Nottingham next season, but it is a challenge everybody at our club is up for.

“Our minds will be applied on knocking them off their perch. They are a strong team in every department and although we exposed some weaknesses against them the league table does not lie - they were the most consistent.

“Hats off to Nottingham for winning the Grand Slam. But we are looking to the future now.”

Milwaukee-born Christansen has a reputation for having a meticulous eye for detail and preparation. He is said to be an expert on other team’s tactics and individuals.

But Belfast have had off-ice issues during the 2012-13 campaign and he remarked after Sunday’s defeat: “People may never know the goings on of this season.”

He added: “I am immensely proud of this group of Giants.”

After a career featuring 15 games in the AHL, Christiansen arrived in UK hockey in 2007, skating as a winger for Edinburgh Capitals.