Belfast Giants and Hull Stingrays yesterday announced the mutual departures of coaches Paul Adey and Sylvain Cloutier respecitively.
Adey’s departure comes after he and GM Todd Kelman failed to reach an agreement on a future contract, and the decision was mutually agreed that both parties would go their separate ways.
Adey during his tenure led the Giants to the Elite League title for the second time in three seasons, whilst also guiding the Belfast side to the finals of both the Challenge Cup and last Sunday’s playoff final, where they lost out in overtime to the Sheffield Steelers.
He was named Coach of the Year by both the Elite League and the UK Ice Hockey Journalists.
“Paul has done a great job for us this year. He won a league title and advanced to the finals for the other two major titles.
“On behalf of the Belfast Giants players and staff and the entire organisation that we are a part of, I want to thank him for his work and for playing a big part in what we accomplished together as a team this past season. I wish him well for wherever he ends up next season,” said Kelman.
The Giants are now actively looking to fill the void left by Adey.
Cloutier, who made seven appearances in the NHL for Chicago Blackhawks, has been player-coach at Hull Arena for the past five seasons, and was short-listed for the Elite League Coach of the Year in 2013/14 as Stingrays totalled a club-high 52 points.
He helped steer the Stingrays to the Elite League play-off finals weekend for the first time in 2012 and last season helped the team break several club records.
Cloutier said: “After speaking to [owner] Bobby [McEwan] we have decided to go our separate ways and I will be moving on.
“I have had five great years with the Stingrays and will take away with me a lot of memories.
“There have been changes of ownership and we have gone through a lot during my time here which makes what we achieved as a group an even better accomplishment.
“Leading the team to the final four weekend in Nottingham – and beating Sheffield Steelers to get there – was the highlight but I also felt progressing past the group stages of the Challenge Cup was a big feat given who we had in our group.
“We have also just had one of the best seasons this club has seen and no-one can take any of that away from me.
“I want to thank our fantastic fans for all the support they have given me and my family during my time here. I hope they know I always gave them 110 per cent and they are simply the best fans in the league and they have been like family to me #jellyfish.
“I have made a lot of friends over the past five years but it is now time to move on and start a new chapter in my life.”
Owner Bobby McEwan said: “I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to Sylvain for everything he has done for the club over the last five years and I wish him and his family all the very best for the future.
“The search for a new player-coach will now begin and I am looking to have that person in place as soon as possible as we build for next season.”