Sheffield Steelers Column: Ruthless Tony Smith is prepared to take flak over gamble to sack Gerad Adams

Gerad Adams
Gerad Adams
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Would Steelers have sacked Alex Dampier and Clyde Tuyl at the height of their glorious reign at Sheffield Arena? Or Mike Blaisdell and his right hand man Rick Brebant?

Ofcourse not. So why has Steelers owner Tony Smith done the equivalent to head coach Gerad Adams and his trusty lieutenant Neil Abel?

Tony Smith - Sheffield Steelers owner

Tony Smith - Sheffield Steelers owner

In truth, the answer cannot be referenced by the past, but solely by the future.

Smith has a vision. He wants to run the club not just as a sustainable, profitable business, but also one which can expand both on and off the ice. It is creative-thinking on a previously unseen scale.

Steelers have their eyes on local, national and international growth.

* They want to bond with the thriving junior programme, a long-held wish that has been denied to them partly due to previously difficult relationships with Sheffield Steeldogs, over at iceSheffield. Steelers need to be seen as a community resource, something they are not currently.

* They want to firmly establish their team and as the best in the Elite League - something, which in fairness, Adams accomplished. With that element they want a better reporting structure and clearer forward planning.

* And they also want to do well in the European Champions League - so often a graveyard for UK clubs.

Adams will think he would have been more than capable of piloting the team towards those objectives.

But Smith didn’t think so.

He felt he could find a better leader. And he’s prepared to take the flak from 4,000 fans, now, with the hope that success on all those three levels will come. And not necessarily next season.

Smith recognises that the scale of a task, which he deemed beyond Adams, will take a new recruit at least two years to bear fruit.

Adams, 36, took over when Smith did not approve of the stifling management controls exerted by Doug Christiansen.

On April 6, 2014, he repaid him by winning the Play Off finals, a virtual-stranger running Big Doug’s team.

They beat Belfast Giants 3-2, the winner coming in overtime from Drew Fata.

Adams, an uncompromising d-man in his playing days, showed last summer he wasn’t afraid to make hard decisions- Fata was one of the first to be exiled.

But Adams, who was released from his coaching role at Cardiff Devils in October 2013 after nine years, discovered this week that winning the Play Offs and League in his brief Sheffield tenure is not enough.

Maybe, with Steelers looking for a different type of franchise manager, who is also a top coach, they are seeking a mixture of Christiansen and Adams.

There aren’t many of those about.

But they seem confident they will find one soon, if they haven’t got someone in mind already.