Sheffield Steelers double-title winner was ‘fired by email’

Sheffield Steelers' coach Paul Thompson, with Darrell Hay, right at iceSheffield. Picture Dean Woolley.
Sheffield Steelers' coach Paul Thompson, with Darrell Hay, right at iceSheffield. Picture Dean Woolley.
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Darrell Hay says he was angry and upset that Steelers axed him by email - but says he has no bitterness towards the club as a whole.

Hay won the league title in both seasons with Sheffield - once as a player, once as an assistant coach.

But the club severed their relationship with him after he’d returned home to Canada.

The defenceman says a photograph of his successor, Jerry Andersson, at the Play Off finals (April 2-3) suggested a decision had been made to replace him some time before the announcement was made.

“I didn’t see it coming” he said. “Like everyone you are disappointed when you are not asked to come back. Especially after winning the league and the head coach winning coach of the year. You believe those are two measuring sticks that would warrant a return.

“When I had my meeting with Paul (Thompson, coach.) I felt we were on good terms. I didn’t know that this was happening during the play off weekend.

“I get a little rattled when I see a picture referring to the appointment, taken at playoff weekend. If that’s the direction you are moving tell me before I leave the country face to face. Do it the right way and show the appropriate class in doing it.

“I didn’t leave until April 13 so I would have expected the courtesy of telling me face to face before I had left. I feel that I earned as much.

“I was emailed after I had flown home and have not had a phone call since” said Hay, 36.

“I was angry in the way it was communicated to me. I was surprised and disappointed to see how they conducted it - telling me through an email. You’d think values would always be at the forefront.

“I figure with a group that talks about how professional they are that this would have been handled with more detail. But I feel it’s a good lesson moving forward” added Hay.

“People can make their own opinion about the club, Tony (Smith, owner) and Paul.

“I am angry with a few people I trusted but not the whole group. I’ve been doing this (hockey) a long time now and have lived the experiences. It’s just funny when you are told one thing and see how it is actually done.

“I have a lot more respect for Gerad Adams (coach, released two seasons ago) now and how he handled it. The people I have talked to over there in the league have been really good and said some great things and left with some good ideas to ponder.

“There is no point in being bitter. It is just time to move on. I hope I am back there one day but right now I am really enjoying being home. Life has a funny way of working out.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to play and coach in Sheffield and be part of the club. I want to thank everyone that I got to work with and learn from. I will look back on it and take away many positives and that’s how I want to leave it.”