Former Cardiff Devils captain Ryan Finnerty. Pic: George Monaghan.
Former Cardiff Devils captain Ryan Finnerty is back in British ice hockey.
The intensely competitive Canadian has been appointed Manchester Storm coach for the 2017-18 Elite League season.
Finnerty has agreed a two-year contract with Storm and replaces player-coach Omar Pacha.
Finnerty said: “I am very excited to join a growing organisation with a great fan base and the opportunity to build an exciting team alongside general manager Neil Russell.
“I look forward to the challenge ahead and working with the new ownership on achieving their goals.”
The announcement of Finnerty comes days after the club were bought over by a group headed by Scottish businessman Gordon Greig.
And the appointment of the former Braehead Clan and Sheffield Steelers coach is one that excites Russell.
“I’ve known Finner for quite a few years now and you will struggle to find a man who is as passionate about his team as he is,” he said.
“Ryan brings extensive knowledge not just of the game to Manchester, but a wealth of experience within the Elite League too.
“He is a guy who will work tirelessly for our organisation to ensure we continue to grow as a brand, both on and off the ice.
“I look forward to working closely with Ryan as we move forwards into our third season of EIHL competition and I’m sure all Storm fans will get behind me in welcoming Ryan.”
Storm owner Gordon Greig added: “Ryan is an experienced and successful coach and we as an ownership think is the best way forward for this club to become more competitive.
“We are confident of his ability and know he can deliver results as Manchester Storm move forward.”
Finnerty’s arrival signalled the departure of Pacha, who leaves after two years as a player-coach. He signed from Hull Stingrays in 2015.
Pacha led the team to the play-offs last season for the first time in their Elite League history and Russell paid tribute to a man he grew close to in time at the club.
“Omar is a guy that always went above and beyond, not just for me, but most importantly, for the Manchester Storm,” he said.
“I wish him the very best of luck in wherever life takes him takes him next. He’s developed into a very respected coach and grown as a person in the last two years too.
“Finally, I want to thank him his loyalty and commitment to not just me, but what he gave to Manchester Storm and Omar has played a pivotal role in getting us to where we are today.”
While Finery prepares for next season, Devils have signed six players and they are player-coach Andrew Lord plus Joey Martin, Joey Haddad, Mark Richardson and Craig Moore.
Devils now have more than 1,200 season ticket holders for the 2017/18 season. Information on season is tickets available from 0800 0842 666 or email email@example.com plus the official club website at cardiffdevils.com
Devils go for their first trophy in August when they play Braehead Clan and Nottingham Panthers in the Aladdin Cup.
The three Elite League sides face-off in the tournament ahead of the new domestic season.
Braehead won the Aladdin Cup last year thanks to a 5-2 win over Panthers, but the competition has been changed to a round robin format for 2017-18.
Glasgow-based Clan bidding for their fifth consecutive triumph in the cup this summer.
Aladdin Cup fixtures:
Saturday 12: Nottingham Panthers v Cardiff Devils (7pm)
Saturday 19: Cardiff Devils v Braehead Clan (7pm)
Sunday 20: Nottingham Panthers v Braehead Clan (4pm)
Sunday 13: Cardiff Devils v Nottingham Panthers (6pm)
Sunday 20: Cardiff Devils v Krefeld Penguins (6pm)
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