Aaron Fox WILL make Sheffield Steelers EIHL champions again
Owner Tony Smith said that while some disgruntled fans had recently been calling for changes in the coaching staff, Fox and his number two Carter Beston-Will present the best chance of lifting the EIHL championship in 2024.
When any much-fancied sports side fails to deliver, it's not uncommon for supporters to call for new blood.
But that makes no sense at Steelers, according to Smith.
The owner said that he and Fox had a full debrief soon after the 2022-23 season ended.
The club proprietor mused that The Star would "want to be a fly on that wall" when they had their post-season catch-up.
But he stressed: "Fans have a pop occasionally about making changes at the top.
"And the reality is we didn't win anything, so we accept fair criticism from people.
"Could the style of hockey have been better? Yes, possibly it could.
"Should we change it up for next year and take a slightly different style?" asked Smith.
"We (management) have a record of making changes when we think it's necessary and I genuinely don't think it is necessary.
"I think Aaron is the right guy to do the job.
"If you make a change at the top it can take a year or two to settle everything down and we are settled down now.
"Aaron is the right guy. I like his recruitment methods and his style of management.
"We knew he wasn't the seasoned coach when he came in but we seemed to do ok with a brand of hockey that is ok.
"Every year we go out to recruit winners, and I think we need hunger back in the team.
"We are the biggest club in the country so our expectations are greater than anybody else's."
The owner added that some fans had claimed there had been no 'Plan B' in games.
"I don't agree with that. Aaron is a clever hockey guy and knows his stuff. I 100 percent believe Aaron will get us there next year, I wouldn't be putting my faith in him if I didn't think he could do it
"Trophies are the target. They are always the target but next year is more important than most because we have had a few quiet years.
"We have not come close, third is not good enough. Semi-final in the Cup is not good enough and semi-final in Play Off isn't good enough."
While web forums and social media contained no shortage of attacks on the club after they limped out of the Challenge Cup and lost to Cardiff Devils in the Play-Off semi-finals, Smith said: "It is easy to ask for change.
"But I set my stall out with Aaron and his team to build a better club in Sheffield; that goes right back to day one when I expressed to Aaron that I wanted a winning, exciting team on the ice that would put bums on seats.
"We have seen the boom-to-bust years, where the club spent a fortune on players to win a trophy knowing the club wouldn't survive.
"That era is in the past, we have to be prudent under the wage cap and work smart.
"To those people who want change, take a good look at how far we have come. Fans go home happy every night so we are doing something right."
As for the owner's own responsibility in helping bring success on Sheffield Arena ice Smith pointed out: "Nothing is too far for us, if a coach wants something in Sheffield the answer is always yes, whether it is an extra car, player, house, dog basket... the answer is always yes, we have never said no to a coach.
"We have never canned an injured player, we look after our guys.
"We always give coaches every chance to win.
"There is never any pushback to say: 'What if I'd had this guy? What if I could have signed a Calle Ackered or a Marco Vallerand...we did both."