Darrell Hay says he agreed to become new assistant coach because chances to work under bosses of the calibre of Paul Thompson “don’t come along every day.”
Hay was a first-year defenceman for the club under Gerad Adams last season. And he must have wondered what the future had in store for him when Adams was deposed.
But he was pleasantly surprised when Thompson made overtures to him about a new position. Looking back on the offer, he said: “I don’t know if I was intending on coaching but when Paul floated the offer I was intrigued - it was too good of an opportunity to pass on.
“To work underneath a man of his calibre and experience is something that doesn’t come along everyday. I just hope I can bring a lot of passion and enthusiasm to the position. I hope I can be a guy that Paul can give some responsibilities to and mature with. I also want to be a guy players feel comfortable in expressing their views and concerns to as well.”
The 35-year-old Canadian, who has played in Norway, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic, is not deterred by the scale of the task in playing Champions League hockey against elite opposition - Frölunda of Sweden and Jyväskylä of Finland. He said: “Champions league hockey will be a challenging test. From coaches to players to staff. It will require an incredible amount of focus and determination to succeed. We have drawn some tough clubs and it will require a total commitment to team play to advance. Anything can happen in hockey. I’m not going to speculate on our chances but our effort will be there.”
The asst boss knows little about the new recruits but says: “I talk to people I trust for their feedback and they have had glowing remarks about the personnel Paul has acquired.”