Ready, steady, go!
We did wonder when we would hear of the first signing of the new season and it was Manchester Storm who got things started. But who will be next?
It’s been four weeks since the season ended and we’ve waited patiently to see who would blink first when it came to announcement their teams in 2020-21 and Ryan Finnerty, always one to announce during the play-off weekend didn’t disappoint.
Tyson Fawcett is the first piece of his particular jigsaw and we should start to see the others starting to follow suit in announcing which of their rosters are returning.
As fans, we’ll ponder the roster from last season and pick the ones coming back and depending on which team you follow, returnees could be plentiful or there could be big change.
For example, it’s a fair assumption to think Glasgow Clan may be changing a number of players from what turned into an underachieving campaign and more so now, on the back of Zack Fitzgerald’s departure.
Sheffield Steelers will be expected to keep a good number of their players from last season after topping the table for a chunk of the campaign, with coach Aaron Fox moving into a second year.
Regardless of who returns and who doesn’t, talk will turn to signings now for the next few months as we see each side prepare for a new season, which we don’t know when it will start.
As for the players, they usually go away for a few weeks, flush the previous season out of their system by returning home, catching up with friends and family and putting it all aside.
But then the time comes to make a decision. Some will have conversations with their agents to seek out new opportunities or another deal with their current clubs. Others will have made their mind up and signed before going home.
The intricacies into making a deal come into play. The most obvious one is the financial package being acceptable for both sides.
Other factors for the player include the city, where they’re going to live and doing their research by using the internet or reaching out to friends or contacts familiar with the area.
For clubs and the coaches in particular, it’s about discovering what sort of player they’re looking to add. Will they fit into the group? Have there been health and injury issues? Will they fit into the systems? It’s all a gamble.
The fans wait with bated breath and while some moves will be motivated by money, others, perhaps in the case of players moving away, will have other reasons to help them decide to head to pastures new.
We’ll wait and see as the make up of each team is known in the weeks and months to follow and while the old games that have been shown online will keep things ticking over, the day to day business will return soon enough and we can start looking forward.
That day can’t come quickly enough.
Clan for a new direction?
It’s been a few days since the announcement that Zack Fitzgerald has left Glasgow Clan and speculation is rife among the fans over what direction the club will take in the pursuit of their new coach.
A few names have been banded about and circumstances will dictate just who Clan will go for, but the one thing they need is continuity.
It’s a fair argument to say their most successful period came in the four years under Ryan Finnerty between 2013 and 2017 when they reached the play-off finals and finished twice in the top three.
Prior to Finnerty, the only coach to have come in with a lengthy record of experience was Paul Gardner and he was only there a matter of weeks.
Finnerty himself had two years of experience with Sheffield Steelers and since then Pete Russell had a year in the EIHL after some years in the EPL.
All the other coaches to have come in were seasoned players, but rookies in coaching terms so maybe it’s time to look to a man of experience to take them on.
Paul Thompson seems to be a popular choice with the Purple Army and if you’re looking for experience, he ticks a lot of boxes and he’s available, which is another plus point.
It comes down to budget and what Clan can afford so if they can attract someone like Thompson or someone of his ilk, they’ll do really well.
It would be a different direction and like in 2013, they need someone to stay longer than a season and provide continuity to an organisation that needs some stability.