Coventry Blaze chairman Andy Buxton paid tribute to head coach Danny Stewart after he signed an extension to his contract.
The 41-year-old returned to the club he played for in 2016, replacing Chuck Weber and has oversaw a gradual progression that saw them play their way into title contention last season.
His hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed and Buxton took the opportunity to recognise the work done by Stewart since returning to the Skydome after five years with Fife Flyers.
“We have a huge amount of admiration for the commitment and dedication that Danny brings to his very broad role with the club,” Buxton said.
“Like everyone, Danny especially, we are all so disappointed that the abrupt end to the season means we are all talking about what might have been, rather than what was.
“He has been an outstanding leader, motivator and coach. He understands the club, our constraints and our dynamics, and works tirelessly to keep moving things forward.
“We would like to take this time to thank Danny for everything he has done and continues to do, and we are delighted that he will be leading us for the foreseeable future.”
As a player, Stewart appeared in over 800 professional games registering more than 500 points, playing over four seasons with Coventry between 2006 and 2010.
Under Paul Thompson, he won three Elite League Championships, including back-to-back successes as well as a Challenge Cup title.
Prior to returning to Blaze, he played and coached at Newcastle Vipers, before heading to Fife Flyers, where he worked as associate coach to Todd Dutiaume.
He led the Blaze to an impressive third place in the Elite League this season before the campaign was suspended due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
When the season was prematurely halted, Stewart’s side were on a streak of 17 consecutive EIHL competition games without losing in regulation time and had only lost twice in regulation over their last 27 games.
Two weeks ago, Stewart spoke to British Ice Hockey, revealing the sudden and premature conclusion to the 2019/20 season had left him to reflect on what might have been.
He told us: “Being completely honest, it would be safe to say we were satisfied with our season, but it was a great year in different aspects, like where we were and being able to challenge for a title.
“What made it really good was the group we had and the form we had in the second half of the season, it was a fun ride for sure. I won’t lie. Seeing the season cut short was a punch in the gut.
“I think, from myself to everyone involved, we’re still getting our head around it and it was a certainly a tough way to finish the season, but given the circumstances and what was going on everywhere else, completely understandable.”