Sheffield Steeldogs have fired coach Matt Darlow - replacing him with the man he enlisted in an English Premier League signing coup only a few weeks ago.
Andre Payette takes over from Darlow, in a decision which will surprise many in the iceSheffield community.
The club issued a statement saying: “It is with regret that, after being part of keeping EPL ice hockey in Sheffield alive, the Steeldogs and Matt Darlow have parted company. When Jon Rowbotham resigned at the end of June, Matt agreed to step up from his original role as assistant coach and has worked hard over the months on behalf of the Steeldogs, for this the Club thanks him.
“Results have not been going the Steeldogs way recently despite adding some higher-level players to the original roster and who we felt would add experience to the younger elements of the team as we progressed through the season. The aim was to provide better quality hockey for our fans to enjoy watching and to help entice new fans through the doors.
“The target also has always been to make the playoffs and recent results saw Steeldogs slip out of the play-off position. It was therefore felt a change was needed before it was too late” said the statement.
“With this in mind, the very tough decision was made to look at an alternative way of ensuring, what in hockey is always the goal of the team and fans - to make the playoffs and nothing less will do. The Club would like to thank Matt sincerely for everything he has done for Sheffield hockey this season and for the professional manner in which he has accepted this difficult decision. Steeldogs and the fans wish him all the best in his future.”