Glasgow Clan’s new coach Zack Fitzgerald says being the boss won’t change him after he was confirmed to replace Pete Russell.
The 33-year-old is back at the club for a second straight season, but he’s swapped the ‘C’ on the jersey for a suit as he prepares for a new role.
And in doing so, he’s confirmed his retirement from playing, but hasn’t ruled out an encore on-ice appearance or two if circumstances dictate it.
“It’s a new job and a new title so that means I’ve effectively retired and I’m fully focussed on coaching from now on, as well as recruiting and management of the team and I have the full autonomy from Gareth (Chalmers, Clan’s Chief Operating Officer) to proceed,” he said.
“If we do run into injury problems, I’ll always be available to come in and help out. We’ll see how that goes, but I’ll keep in shape certainly.
“But for now, we’re concentrating on the management side in bringing in the players and hopefully providing an entertaining product on the ice for the fans.
“I’m not going to change me as a person because I’m now the coach. Around the rink, it’ll be a little different as I’ll be wearing a suit instead of the jersey, but the guys we have already have been very positive towards me coming in, which makes me excited and gives me more belief in what I want to bring.
“I’ll always connect with the fans and that’s something I’ve always done. To me, they’re very important to the whole thing and we’re all here because of the people that support the game and for me, it’s about making sure everyone enjoys themselves.
“I’ll always be as personable as I can with everyone and I don’t think anyone should expect anything differently from me. We can’t wait to get back and I’ll be the same Fitzy.”
Fitzgerald returned to Glasgow last year after three years at Sheffield Steelers, with whom he won the Elite League title and play-offs, after initially arriving in the UK to play for the Clan in 2014.
He takes over from Russell, who left to go to German DEL2 side EHC Freiburg and will resume the building of the team, where he says fans won’t have to wait long for further news of additions to his roster.
He added: “As for the signings, I’m really happy with the guys who have already signed up for next year and they would have been the first ones I would have looked at if I had been here straight away. From that point of view, it’s a good start and we’re building a good core of guys.
“We’ve got some (more) guys signed and we have contracts out there so I’ll leave that to the organisation to release the information, but I think people are going to be happy with the names they’ll hear.
“I’m excited and it’s been a whole new world for me talking contracts and offers with players and the news will roll on soon. We’ve got plenty of time to work with so people shouldn’t hold their breath about new arrivals coming.
“I’m really pumped to be coming back to the Clan and have the confidence of the organisation to be able to take this opportunity. “