Andrew Lord admits he has mixed feelings about calling a halt to his playing days, but he loves watching his Cardiff Devils team.
Head coach Lord is spending his time on the team bench during matches these days, although he is staying fit and available should his gritty skills be needed.
“I miss playing, but being around this group of guys is a joy,” he says. “It’s not coming to work, just being around a great group of guys who work so hard for each other.
“They care for the Devils jersey, they care about winning for our club’s fan base. You can see it in their play.
“The team has improved so much over time. Being part of something like this simply gets better and better every day.
“The guys work so hard and I am really impressed by how great our team are playing.
“Look throughout the group and everybody is making progress, becoming g better players. Even the top guys are way better now than they were four years ago.”
Lord takes his Devils team to Guildford Flames on Wednesday evening, a match which is effectively Devils game in hand.
They are top of Elite League and playing well, but the coach and his players know how tough it is playing Flames away.
Cardiff have been to Guildford’s Spectrum Arena twice this season, losing 8-4 in a Challenge Cup group match and 3-2 in the League.
When Devils returned to Flames in a Cup quarter-finals the teams drew 3-3 before Cardiff won the return leg 6-2.
“We need a win in their rink,” says Lord. “We know how well they skate and will have to manage the puck extra well.”
Devils defeated Milton Keynes Lightning (4-1 away) and Nottingham Panthers (7-3 at home) last weekend and Lord said: “We came out at Lightning and at first our performance wasn’t where we wanted it to be, but we came through and the last 10 minutes of the second period was phenomenal. Our O-zone time, movement, puck possession and more were all spot on.
“The boys played hard and we say that again against Nottingham.
“I felt we played a great first period in Sunday’s game, but the score didn’t reflect that and their powerplay goal was against the run of play.
“It was frustrating when we didn’t score during the 5v3 powerplay, but I loved the composure and the way they came out for the second. Justin Faryna scoring four goals topped it off.
“I love the way he is competing right now. He is moving his feet well, seems so much more comfortable within our systems and is playing the right way.
“His details are great and not only in scoring goals. Everything else is solid.
“I was also happy for Paul Crowder scoring his goal. He has been doing a job for us and he deserved his goal.”
ELITE LEAGUE STANDINGS
|11||Milton Keynes Lightning||43||15||27||1||0||.360||31|