Giants get new coach & Hutchins signs for Flyers

Adam Keefe Giants’ Fans favourite gets the job


Number 47 Adam Keefe 

Giants’ fans favourite, Canadian Adam Keefe, after being prepared for the position over the last few seasons finally got the head coach job for the Belfast Giants. He follows brother Sheldon, head coach of the Toronto Marlies for the last two seasons, into top spot. ‘Keefer’ steps up from the rank of assistant head coach and player to that of head coach.

I’m sure it will be very useful to have a brother who is head coach of an AHL team like the Toronto Marlies. To bounce ides off and checkout notes on possible players that might not be future NHL material or even have AHL current abilities that could well suit the Elite League playing standards of the Belfast Giants.

Or, on the other hand players that have had a long standing career in either of the top ice hockey leagues and looking for a few more years of hockey whilst gaining a higher business qualification than they currently hold. For example the MBA programme currently offered by the Giants – in association with Ulster University – is open to selected, eligible candidates. It has the potential to enhance a player’s professional profile whilst icing for Belfast.

DerrickWalserDerrick Walser Former Player Head Coach of the Giants 

Keefe follows in the steps of former NHLer Derrick Walser. He has learned his trade first hand and will be well aware of what is expected from him as a fledgling coach. He comes in on the coat tales of Walser who also walked the path of a first time coach.

The Giants’ organization is certainly rising in admiration amongst European ice hockey clubs. They hosted the successful NCAA tournaments over the last few seasons, also the Boston Bruins’ match against the Belfast Giants – an overwhelming success.

The new owners who took over a few seasons ago – the Odyssey Trust – are very satisfied with their acquisition. It is proving to be the success they had hoped for especially in its aim to bring both tourism to Northern Ireland and a place to bring the whole family.

GIANTS MCOOPER1 copyAdam Keefe (47) and Steve Thornton always in close communication 

The World Fire and Police games a few years back, and the most recent Ice Hockey Division 1B World Championship were also successfully organized and undertaken by Steve Thornton and his staff with the Odyssey Trust and Belfast Giants.

thorntonsteve_giants_16102014Always smiling Steve Thornton coming up with the great projects for the SSE Arena 

This was successfully under taken and run professionally from the conception first of Robert Fitzpatrick (CEO of the new owners of the Belfast Giants and the Odyssey Trust) and brought to outstanding fulfillment through Steven Thornton and his able staff to make the projects not only happen but bring them to a successful conclusion.

Team enforcer and goal scorer

Adam AK47 Keefe 

As the above events prove, and as forerunners for success Adam Keefe’s appointment means he is sailing on the right ship to bring the Belfast Giants to greater awareness – for both Irish sports fans and family entertainment in Northern Ireland’s capital. A recent, consistent take up of seats alongside a marketing revenue increase has pleased the Odyssey Trust and the Giants alike as the arena overall seating increases.

Adam Keefe

This is what the Giants fans are looking for a throphy in Keefers hand

If head coach Adam Keefe can secure a long awaited trophy or any silverware in the SSE arena in his first season all could be ecstatic within the Giants’ ranks. A more realistic outcome, similar to the stewardship of first term head coach Derrick Walser, a strong playoff position and a thrilling end to the season play would be more than acceptable to the Giants’ fans. Watch this space.

Hutchins 2

Jeff Hutchins (L) in yet another suit not a game shirt but a coaches dress code

Yet another former Giant has signed up as a coach – this time it’s Mr. Jeff Hutchins. Fife Flyers can confirm that the 38-year-old Canadian and former EIHL player and coach will be joining the Flyers as assistant coach and Director of Player Development for the forthcoming season.

Jeff Hutchins Hutch in full flow directing his troops

Hutchins is no stranger to the EIHL or the Flyers’ fans. He has played for EIHL sides Coventry Blaze, Sheffield Steelers, Belfast Giants, Newcastle Vipers, Edinburgh Capitals and Dundee Stars, before assuming the player coach role for the Stars during the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons.

HutchinsInAtFifeJeff Hutchns as a player for Dundee Stars 

Hutchins is now settled in the UK with his wife and family and is a dual passport holder (UK/Canadian).

 Flyers’ head coach Todd Dutiaume had this to say about Hutch,

“Jeff brings a wealth of hockey knowledge, a winning pedigree and we share a common vision for the future of this club. I look forward to working closely with him and continue on the path towards bringing success to Fife and its loyal fan base.”

Hutchins had the following to say on joining the Flyers; “I am really excited to be joining the Fife Flyers for the upcoming season as assistant coach and Director of Player Development.

Todd and I have been speaking about this role for some time and I am glad that we have come to an agreement.  I am ecstatic to be joining such a storied franchise with some of the most passionate fans I have come across in professional hockey.

The organisation has set high expectations for the coming year and I am looking forward to playing my part with the Flyers and developing the homegrown talent.  I look forward to meeting all the Flyer’s faithful in the coming weeks.”

ID Photo

Written by Wayne Hardman




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