Nottingham Panthers have announced the departure of head coach Rich Chernomaz with immediate effect.
The 55-year-old took charge of the club in the summer, replacing long-serving Corey Neilson and led the club to third place in the standings and a Challenge Cup semi-final.
Assistant coach Rick Strachan, who also worked under Neilson previously, will take charge for the rest of the campaign, assisted by captain Guillaume Lepine, currently out through injury.
Panthers chairman Neil Black thanked Chernomaz for his contribution, but feels the change was needed to give them the best chance of success.
“Rich recruited a great roster of talent and we think we can still make a good run at the end of the season and remain in contention for all three titles,” he said.
“We believe this move gives us the best chance at success and look forward to giving Rick Strachan all the support he needs to take us over the finish line and we thank Rich for his efforts and wish him all the best in his future.”
Panthers, in their statement on the website, cited recent poor results as the reason for the charge, which has led to Strachan taking on his first head coach role in the Elite League in nine years.
He formerly coached at Hull Stingrays between 2003 and 2009, with the last three years in the top flight.
Strachan was also the head coach of the Great Britain Men’s national team for two years between 2004 and 2006 and was assistant for two years prior to that.
‘Strachs’ returned to the Elite League benches in December 2010 where he replaced David Graham alongside Neilson and was part of the successful team that won a multitude of trophies, including the Continental Cup in 2017.
Lepine will join him on the bench, starting this weekend when Panthers head to Scotland for a three-game weekend, which means Kevin Henderson will take on captain duties in his absence.
Alex Bolduc has been upgraded to an ‘A’ as the Panthers look to end the season strongly following the changes.