SHEFFIELD Steelers owner Tony Smith admits he is mystified as to what the secret ingredient is that Gerad Adams has brought to the club during his short coaching reign. But he will want to keep hold of it.
Talks are ongoing between the club and coach this week after Adams masterminded Steelers’ Elite League play-off triumph in Nottingham at the weekend, just five weeks after replacing the axed Doug Christiansen as head coach at the Motorpoint Arena.
Regarding the possibility of Adams returning next season on a permanent, long-term deal both Adams and Smith were guarded in the aftermath of their team’s 3-2 overtime victory against Belfast Giants on Sunday – their first trophy success since 2011 when they won the regular season league title under Ben Simon.
But talks are ongoing and it is believed that only the finer details are left to be agreed on a deal that will bring the former Cardiff Devils coach back for the 2014-15 campaign.
While clearly delighted at the impact Adams has had since his arrival at the end of February, Smith admitted he wasn’t sure what his coach’s secret to success was.
“Gerad has certainly brought something but if I had to go out and buy it I wouldn’t know what I was looking for in the shops because I don’t know what it is,” Smith told The Yorkshire Post.
“He has brought his own personality, his own charisma, his own special way with the players and it is that which Gerad has given the Steelers.
“You could say it’s confidence, you could say it is a greater ability to (let the players) do their own thing.”
Smith was reluctant to describe the Steelers’ play-off triumph as vindication for his decision to sack Christiansen in mid-February, but revealed he wasn’t confident the team would have made enjoyed the same succcess under the man he only brought in last summer to replace Ryan Finnerty.
“I don’t think it’s a case of being vindicated,” said Smith. “I think it’s more a case of doing what is right for the club. At the time I felt we were up against a brick wall, I felt we needed to do something and the change was made, as I’ve said before, purely on commercial grounds.
“You could argue that we were second in the league at the time but, having said that, I didn’t feel we were going to get here if we didn’t make the change.”
While the majority of Steelers’ fans will no doubt have already made their minds up over wanting Adams to return next season, Smith said all talk of a new deal was deliberately left until after the play-offs at the 35-year-old’s request.
“G wanted to leave all the decisions until after this weekend and that is exactly what we did,” said Smith.
“I respect the fact that he wanted to concentrate purely on the play-offs and that is what we are doing.
“It’s a decision that we’ll make over the next few days. There will be an announcement – we’ve got our ideas, and our own thoughts.”
NETMINDER Frank Doyle scooped three awards at the Steelers’ award night just 24 hours after their play-off triumph.
The 33-year-old Canadian produced a man-of-thematch performance in Sunday’s 3-2 overtime win against Belfast Giants, ending the South Yorkshire’s three-year trophy drought.
Doyle, who joined the Steelers after three years in Itlay with Fassa, picked up the players’ player, coaches player and away player of the year awards.
Jonathan Phillips was awarded the British player of the year award, while Robert Dowd was also a winner with the ‘Kidz of Steel’ award and Nikki Donnelly Community award.
Not surprsingly, defenceman Drew Fata was acknowledged for providing the ‘champagne moment’ following his stunning overtime winner against Belfast at the National Ice Centre.