EXCLUSIVE – Thompson: Clan job interests me

Former Sheffield, Coventry and GB coach Paul Thompson is interested in a possible move to Glasgow Clan (PHOTO: Wild Wings)

Five-time Elite League winning coach Paul Thompson has revealed he’s interested in taking the vacant head coaching role at Glasgow Clan.

The former Coventry Blaze and Sheffield Steelers boss has been on the look out for the next opportunity since leaving DEL side Schwenninger Wild Wings in December.

And he told British Ice Hockey he’s flattered to be linked with the post following the departure of Zack Fitzgerald earlier this week.

“You’re always flattered to be linked with clubs and for me, the Glasgow job is a great job so I would definitely be interested,” Thompson said.

“You feel the passion every time you got there as an opposing coach, but as we stand, my representative is talking to teams in Europe, but you never say never.

“If things move forward either way and if it’s an opportunity that’s right for me as well as my family, then you never know.

“I won’t deny that I’d like to get back to Europe, but it’s flattering to be linked with Glasgow for sure.

Zack Fitzgerald left Glasgow Clan earlier this week. His former coach at Sheffield, Paul Thompson, could be his replacement (PHOTO: Al Goold)

“The Elite League is growing all the time and the quality is increasing all the time.  When you’ve had a taste of the DEL and other places in Europe like I have, you want to get back there.

“I’m not for a minute saying the door is closed on a return to the Elite League.  Far from it.  I want to coach next season and I will be coaching so it’s definitely not out of the question.”

Thompson was in reflective mood as he looked back on his year in the south west of Germany and despite being let go in December, he’s not angry about it at all.

If anything, he loved the experience and while he’s disappointed not to have been kept, he’s hoping his labours can bear fruit later on.

He added: “I loved it in Germany and the DEL is a great league.  I loved my time over at Schwenninger and it’s a well-run and professional set-up.

“No-one likes to be let go and if I’m honest, I wasn’t angry about leaving.  I was more disappointed and felt it was the wrong decision, but you do have to look back and wonder if you could have done something better.

“I was with a smaller budget team and the expectation was, at times, false and it doesn’t let the team breathe.  When I came in, we had seven points in 17 games and by the end, we had the same amount of wins as the teams who made the play-offs.

WATCH: Paul Thompson’s last win as coach of Schwenninger Wild Wings, a 5-4 success over Eisbaren Berlin. A week later he had gone

“You have to look at it as a phenomenal experience and I want to get back there.  I don’t think I proved what I could have done and I think they made a huge mistake.

“That’s not me being arrogant.  That’s me being realistic to where the club is to where it needs to be and I did it at Aalborg when I coached there.

“It was a high budget team who brought in junior players and we established more of a link when I went there.  I moved on after a year to take over in Sheffield, but the club continued to grow and with the same group players, are leading the way.

“I felt I could have done the same with Schwenniger, but the DEL can be ruthless at times, but it was a wonderful experience and I loved every minute of it.”

The weekend should have been the annual play-off weekend in Nottingham for Elite League and Thompson is permanent fixture there, either as a participating coach, part of media coverage or just there to watch the action.

He admits it was different to be at home during what would have been a busy weekend and revealed what he’s been up to since returning from Germany in December.

Thompson said: “It’s strange to be talking during what should have been the play-off weekend at a time when everyone looks forward to this part of the season.

Paul Thompson won three Elite League titles with Coventry and one with Sheffield Steelers (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

“The run-in from the league point of view was looking interesting, although I think Cardiff would have pipped it.  Sheffield and Coventry were right there and the weekend itself is magical.

“I’ve had so many people tell me they think our play-offs are crazy.  They are until you go to them and experience them.

“In Europe, it’s all about the play-offs and how get that position and how deep you go where the regular season sorts out.

“It’s certainly strange and you have to feel for the coaches, who would have geared towards this, especially Danny Stewart at Coventry just as the Blaze were really getting going.

“I’ve been in self isolation since I came back from December.  I was offered a couple of opportunities since I left Schwenninger, but they weren’t right for me.

“I’ve been keeping myself busy and looking over a few things, watching some tapes and other things.  I’ve never really been out of the game for any length of time so it’s a bit new for me.

“You’ve got to take the time to make it work for you and reflect.  I’m certainly looking forward to my next opportunity wherever it turns out to be.”

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