Sheffield Steelers: Double role for Doug

Sheffield coach Doug Christiansen - on his way to new GB duties?
Sheffield coach Doug Christiansen - on his way to new GB duties?
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Sheffield Steelers boss Doug Christiansen is leading contender to take over from Tony Hand as Great Britain head coach.

The American joined Sheffield only a few weeks ago.

But few people in British ice hockey would be surprised if he suddenly converted his responsibilities into a dual role following Hand’s expected decision to quit, yesterday.

Should Christiansen, pursue the GB job, he may find himself competing against Nottingham Panthers’ Corey Neilson.

The path is likely to be cleared for a head-to-head between the two as Paul Thompson - with his new role at Troja-Ljungby Sweden - is unlikely to return to GB duties after falling out with the Ice Hockey UK hierarchy.

Steelers wouldn’t stand in Christiansen’s way - although they would also like him to train Sheffield Under 18 skaters too.

Hand was named as Head Coach of the Senior Men’s National Programme in 2011 and led Team GB at the World Championships in Slovenia in April 2012.

In February they fell short of qualifying for the Sochi Olympics, despite coming closer than any other GB team in recent history.

After their busiest season of competition, Team GB struggled at the Division I Pool A World Championships in Budapest in April. They finished in fifth spot and were relegated for the coming season.

Team GB will compete in Division I Group B in Lithuania in April 2014, but this time under a new Coach - possibly Christiansen, who is GB assistant coach, currently.