By Matthew Burgess
The Cardiff Devils have announced they have restructured their coaching staff with the appointment of a new assistant coach.
American Christian Horn, a former team-mate of head coach Brodie Dupont, joins the club in a full-time capacity after arriving in Cardiff yesterday.
The move, which was originally planned to take effect at the start of the team’s pre-season training camp last month, sees Neil Francis move into a new Director of Hockey Operations role.
“We actually hired him back in July, but the paperwork that would normally take three weeks took eight weeks,” explained Devils managing director Todd Kelman.
“He will be a huge help to our staff. Brodie is doing everything right now in terms of video prep and practice plans and it was important for us to have a full-time assistant coach this year that can help with the workload. We are really excited to finally have Christian here and I know he is going to be a massive help for Brodie.”
Francis, meanwhile, will move into the Director of Hockey Operations role for the Devils. He will remain on the bench for home games and will travel to some away games, and will continue to be involved with player recruitment and evaluation.
“Franny was stretched pretty thin last season as he moved back onto the bench while still working full-time outside of hockey,” added Kelman.
“This season he explained he cannot do the same as last year. He remains part of the coaching staff but will also be the Director of Hockey Operations for the Devils, which means he will continue to help Brodie with player recruitment and ongoing assessment as well as monitor the two-way players in Bristol and Telford.”
Twenty-nine year old Horn joins the Devils having played with Dupont for the Norfolk Admirals in the ECHL, where he spent five seasons before retiring from playing in 2021.
Horn will be on the bench for this weekend’s home games against Glasgow Clan and Guildford Flames and Dupont believes he has all the credentials to become a valuable asset to the team’s coaching staff.
“Christian has pro experience as a player and has learned the game under some of the best coaches around. I played with him so I know what kind of person he is, and I know he will bring a great work ethic and attention to detail to the role,” explained Dupont.
“He wanted to get into coaching when he finished playing and has spent summers working as a skills coach with young players, elite under 16s, for the last few years.”