Big Doug Takes Big GB Job
The man they call Big Doug, Doug Christiansen has been announced as the new head coach of the GB national team. The new Sheffield Steelers head coach replaces Tony Hand who stepped down following the World Championships.
Christiansen is the best choice for GB at the moment. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly Christiansen was assistant coach to Tony Hand and knows the international set up, system and the players. Secondly Christiansen is an EIHL coach.
Being an EIHL coach is a priority for the national team. A criticism of Handâ€™s reign was the he did see the top British players every week and with the old guard retiring and stepping down Christiansen is better placed to see the players who will replace them. Of course working the bench for a top 3 side with GB players like Jason Hewitt and Mark Thomas does help.
Perhaps more importantly for GB is Christiansenâ€™s coaching history. As a coach Christiansen has proven himself to be one of the top coaches in the league. After taking the Edinburgh Capitals to their best finish he then led the Belfast Giants to a first title in 6 years which was followed last season with a second place in the league and the inaugural Erhardt Conference title. It is that experience from behind the bench rather than as a player coach like Tony Hand that will benefit Team GB.
In another good move Doug Christiansen has announced he will backed up by GB U20 coach and member of the Okanagan Hockey School coaching staff Peter Russell will be his assistant. It is a good move that will give youngsters a chance to be in the thoughts of the senior side and act as a training tool for Russell with a view for the British born coach taking over the senior job.
It is a refreshing change for the GB side and is a sign that the management could be looking to the future more following their relegation to Division 1B.