Andersson heads home to leave Thompson plotting Sheffield Steelers rebuild

GONE: Jerry Andersson has returned home to Sweden after two years working as Paul Thompson's assistant coach. Picture: Dean Woolley.
GONE: Jerry Andersson has returned home to Sweden after two years working as Paul Thompson's assistant coach. Picture: Dean Woolley.
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JERRY ANDERSSON heads home to Sweden after two years convinced his good friend Paul Thompson will deliver more silverware for Sheffield Steelers.

The Steelers confirmed on Friday morning that they had accepted Andresson's resignation, in which he expressed his desire to return home after being away from his family on a long-term basis for over three years.

It will be a blow to head coach Thompson, who has just endured his first season without silverware since taking over at the Steelers from Gerad Adams in 2015. With Andersson he won the Elite League play-off trophy in memorable style against Cardiff Devils last year - 12 months after Thompson had guided the Steelers to a second successive league title.

Andresson's departure continues the drive for change going on at the Steelers after last Sunday's play-off final defeat to Cardiff meant they went without a trophy for the first time since 2013 when Ryan Finnerty was in charge.

On Monday, nine imports were told they would not be asked back for the 2018-19 campaign, with Thompson yet to confirm the status on a number of others.

It's not known what direction Thompson will go in with regard to replacing Andersson, if at all, although he may opt to return to having a player-assistant coach as he did in his first season in charge when Darrell Hay was by his side on the bench.

"I have been away from my family for long enough and as the club starts a rebuilding process feel this is the right time to return home," said Andersson. "Paul is an exceptional head coach who will rebuild the Steelers back to the very top. The players gave us their all and those who will return are good men dedicated to the club.

“I have had two wonderful years in Sheffield - they have been instructive, educational and entertaining. I feel privileged to have been part of this great club and the Steelers will forever have a huge place in my heart.

“I have to also say thanks to the fans who cheered us at home and on the road - seeing them in orange in places like Dundee and Fife on a Wednesday night was inspiring."

While long-time colleagues - Andersson was first Thompson's GM at Troja-Llungby when the former GB boss went to Sweden to enhance his coaching experience in 2013-14 - the two were also clearly great friends, with Thompson acknowledging the impact made by the 58-year-old.

“We will miss Jerry and his input very much," said Thompson. "He is a good hockey man who quietly went about his business working with players and loyally assisting me. His experience is invaluable and it’s good to know he will be there on the other end of a phone when advice is needed.

“I will miss him greatly and can’t thank him enough."