The Sheffield Steelers rewarded Gerad Adams for a play off championship with a new two year contract.
It is however the Steelers that have really been rewarded in finding a head coach that simply fits all of the Steelers requirements and a man who has brought the pride and passion back to the club.
The Steelers had lost their identity prior to Adams arrival in late February. A lost club in style of play and in attitude. Some say Adams did nothing more than release players from the fear of failure. He gave them confidence to express themselves and achieve their goals.
I think there is a lot more to it than just that. Adams is a hockey man and I use the word man and can’t stress that word enough. Adams is a man’s man, no messing, no small talk, no foreplay. Direct, to the point. Adams understands players, what makes them tick, how they operate and how to get the best from them. Gerad feels the game, feels a situation and can instantly respond. He doesn’t need to review a video, look in a text book or sleep on a situation. He feels it, takes it in and reacts.
Players responded. They knew he was one of them. They knew he was there to win and if they performed to their best they had a hell of a chance. He raised spirits, made the rink a fun place to be and encouraged players and staff to be themselves. Now don’t get me wrong, a lot has been made of this “fun place to be” line. Work is work and when you are at work either at train ing or in a game you are expected to give your all and leave nothing behind. The Steelers players responded and did just that but in doing that they also had fun, wore a smile on their faces and that was there for all to see.
The job now really starts though. Before Adams couldn’t make changes, the team he had was the team he had. They fought for their life and for their career. Now Adams has to sift through that Steelers roster and upgrade where he can. Wheel and deal and make it a team worthy of a league title challenge come September.
Gerad Adams has a reputation for being a very good recruiter of people. Look at some of the outstanding players he bought to Cardiff. He will want some of his own people mixed in to the great core that exists already. Adams predecessor made the mistake of letting a lot of players leave the club because they were seen as Ryan Finnerty’s players.
Guys like Michel, Ferguson and Frank. It was a huge error and one that went a long way to costing him his job. Adams won’t make that mistake.
He also won’t wear rose tinted glasses. He knows he was won a play off championship but he also knows that the league title is where the Steelers heart is.
I don’t expect wholesale changes but I do expect Adams to tweak, to improve and for the Steelers to be ready mentally, physically and most importantly emotionally for the challenge next season.
Adams comes from the Dampier, Blaisdell, Matsos mould of Steelers coaches. Twice the Steelers have tried to go academic with Messrs McKee and Christiansen. Both Don and Doug were good people but their DNA wasn’t Steelers DNA and their time proved unsuccessful.
The Steelers template of success has been set and moulded by those who had success in the past. I’m thrilled that the club has gone back to this template to move us forward once again.