Two years to establish a hockey dynasty in city

Sheffield Steelers new Coach Doug Christiansen is announced at a press conference at Sheffield Arena by owner Tony Smith
Sheffield Steelers new Coach Doug Christiansen is announced at a press conference at Sheffield Arena by owner Tony Smith
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DOUG Christiansen has been left in no doubt that he will be given the same amount of time as his predecessor to prove his worth at Sheffield Steelers.

Owner Tony Smith hinted that while silverware would be great for the fans next season, he would be understanding if his new head coach takes until the 2014-15 season to land the league title.

Smith said: “We might have to drop a year. I would hope to deliver some silverware for the fans.

“But in all honesty if it takes another year to set us on a different course I am quite prepared to take that risk.

“I gave Ryan (Finnerty) a couple of seasons and he did good job but not quite good enough and we have to get a better coach on board a stronger coach who can lead us to better things; it’s a start of a new era for Sheffield Steelers.”

Smith said that his new recruit was “like I am is very ambitious. He wants the best for the club and hopefully he is going to deliver. We will get there.”

Christiansen has spoken in general terms about the Steelers’ team which ended empty-handed last season.

The only individual player he named in the press conference on Tuesday was Tylor Michel, who was feted by supporters at the end of season awards function, on Monday.

Michel was one of Finnerty’s favourite players - so if Finnerty gets a job at Braehead, or elsewhere, Christiansen may have to act smartly to retain him.

Having said that, the new boss insisted that there were no players the side simply “have to get back.”

The only skaters who are assured of anything are those on a two-year deal; the likes of Steve Goertzen, James Jorgensen, Drew Fata and Danny Meyers.

“The number one thing is to reshape the culture. For years and years Steelers have been a championship level team, winning trophies, you only have to look at the sea of banners (in the Arena.)

“One of the things we tried to do in Belfast was create a dynasty based on class, we did a lot of wonderful things there, we are going to do the same here. I want to bring in outstanding human beings who are great in the community and great teammates who compete every night and to try and stop what happened down the road (Nottingham’s domination.)