Darrell Hay - the no nonsense defenceman who made his maiden season debut for Sheffield Steelers last season - has been picked by Paul Thompson to be his full time assistant coach for the coming campaign.
Hay was one of the lesser-profile imports in Gerad Adams’ line-up last season, but has an impeccable pedigree.
He is the son of Don Hay, who is a former NHL coach in America and he himself was an NHL draft pic in 1999 by Vancouver Canucks.
He learned his trade in the north American minors, Germany, Norway, the Czech Republic and Italy.
He was one of only three ever-presents for Steelers, scoring seven goals and 20 assists and 32 penalty minutes in 69 games.
At 35 years old, his best playing days are behind him - but he could be a valuable spare import if the team picks up injuries in 2015-16.
“I have been very impressed with Darrell through the whole interview process” said Sheffield’s new coach.
“I interviewed extensively many different possible assistants with a range of experience.
“In fact Darrell had the least experience of them all but when I put the phone down after our final conversation I turned to my wife and said: ‘That’s our guy.’
“Darrell is an intelligent hockey man, so he should be considering the blood line of coaches he comes from.
“He is excited to be involved in the changes we are making and is prepared to put the hours in.
“This is a full-time position and I need an assistant who can be assigned his own tasks and responsibilities whilst working alongside me” said Thompson.
“Finding the right guy has been a detailed process.
“We are changing things here and I needed a right-hand man who understood the changes required and could help me deliver them.
“Darrell understands the game and has his own ideas.
“I think we will make a good team and hopefully have a big impact going forward.”
Thompson added: “In an ideal world I don’t want to see Darrell in the line up. His benefits to this hockey club going forward are working with the players and other staff members and his day will be busy enough with those duties.
“I do however accept that should we run into injuries having him available is a useful asset.”