Nottingham Panthers’ new Director of Hockey Guillaume Doucet admits he knows the pressure is on him already – but he’s not thinking about it.
The seasoned forward confirmed his retirement from the playing side after a spell with Glasgow Clan last season and has moved into the back offices as part of a new structure which he hopes will help the Panthers return to the winner’s circle again.
He revealed there are names on the list they’re looking at to take over as head coach and while he wants to act quickly to get the new man in place, Doucet says they’re not going too fast in an attempt to get this big decision right,
“There’s always pressure in hockey all the time and I’m putting it on myself because I want to find the right coach and the guy that will helps this team succeed,” he said. “I accept this is on me already because of the job I have to do.
“I’m not too worried about that and when you play, there’s always a degree of pressure there, but I don’t really think about it.
“We have a few names for the coach in mind. It’s too early in the process to reveal anything, but hopefully we can move kind of quickly, but not too quickly as we want to make the right move on this.
“I’m not alone in this. Gary Moran and Rick Strachan will be there too and those two guys have a wealth of experience for me to lean on and people that know the league and the club really well.
“I’m new to this and I have a lot to learn. I know a lot of people in the hockey world so it’s about finding the right candidates and putting the list together and getting references.
“I think if I do a lot of thorough investigation, speak to the right people and make a lot of phone calls, I’ll have enough information to make the right decision.”
As he takes on the new role, he’s ended his playing career which has taken him to places like Denmark and Italy, but on these shores has seen him turn out for Hull Stingrays, Panthers, Cardiff Devils, Milton Keynes Lightning and Clan, with whom he played last season.
He admits he wasn’t looking to give up the game just yet, but the opportunity given to him by the Panthers organisation was, in his words, ‘too good to turn down’.
Doucet added: “I feel like I wasn’t ready to hang my skates up officially. My name was put out by a few people who knew I was interested in staying in hockey and finding a job in the Elite League.
“The UK is where I live and the league in which I have the most experience so I talked to few people and when the opportunity presented itself, it came at a good time so I decided I would retire from playing and make the jump.
“The club are trying something new and be a little more modern in terms of the hockey side of things and I liked what they had to offer and where they were going with the structure.
“I wasn’t hoping or planning to retire, but I was getting older and I knew perhaps my better days were behind me. But this was a dream job and I feel I can bring a lot to this opportunity.
As for the job itself, as well as the pressure he spoke of earlier, he’s keen to restore Nottingham to former glories, despite a third place finish last season and spot in the play-off finals weekend.
However the former Elite League champions is under no illusion of the tasks that lie ahead in trying to turn those expectations into success going forward.
“There was big expectation for last year, which is okay,” he said. “I like that for the Panthers and we’re one of the biggest clubs in the UK. I feel we need to be back where we belong.
“I wasn’t here last year of course, but we need something of a fresh start, which is why I’ve been brought in and our aim is to build upwards.
“It’s a whole new world for me and far different from putting on skates and going out there. I did a little bit of recruiting in Cardiff and been in the sport my whole life.
“Hockey is what I know and what I’m passionate. I’m under no illusion I’ll have to learn and I’ll make mistakes. But I’ll learn from them and I’m looking forward to it and I’ll use the help around me and I want to bring the Panthers back to the top.”