It's a giant game day!

Belfast Giants play the
TONIGHT at 1AM — Miss it / miss out!

Official website of the Stena Line Belfast Giants

Steve Thornton Era Comes To An End

The Belfast Giants confirmed today that Steve Thornton has officially stepped down as coach of the Giants. Thornton has accepted a job offer outside of hockey in his hometown of Ottawa, Canada.

Thornton ends his coaching career with three trophies, including the Playoff Championship that he led the Giants to just two weeks ago. In two seasons, Thornton won more games than any other coach in the UK Elite League in all competitive matches (league, cup, playoffs). He led the Giants to two trophies last season, winning both the British Knock Out Cup and the Challenge Cup, both firsts for the Giants Organisation.

General Manager Todd Kelman spoke about Thornton’s decision:

“I am happy for Steve, he is going to be a success at whatever he does, and he is taking the next step forward in his life. This is a decision that gives him a great opportunity to work in his hometown with friends and family around and start a new career path that can secure a comfortable future for him, his wife and three girls. Life is more than just ice hockey and I know this was a tough decision for Steve. I am sorry to see him go, we had an excellent working relationship, a successful partnership with the two championship teams we built and a great friendship. Still you always have to smile when someone that deserves great opportunities gets offered them and has to move on. I am proud of the job Steve has done here and we should all be grateful to him for bringing success back to this team and to this city.”

Steve Thornton spoke about his decision to step away from the game and move into a new career path:

“The last two years have been the best time of my life. My family and I have loved everything about Belfast but the opportunity I have been given back home is too good to pass up at this time. I have actually been offered this job for the last couple years and have kept telling them that I wanted one more year, but the offer is not going to be there forever. It offers me a secure future and is the best decision for my family and me. I am grateful to both Jim Gillespie and Todd for giving me the opportunity to coach in Belfast and I have loved every minute of it. I plan on making sure that the new coach has me on the other end of the phone at any time to be a sounding board on players or any other issues they may have. I am leaving with nothing but great memories in my mind and I will be watching my guys in Belfast next season and hoping they win another championship.”

“The last people I want to thank are all the fans. It was a special moment winning the playoffs in Nottingham and celebrating with our fans in the stands and then back in Belfast with them as well. You are the heart and soul of this team. You are the community that supports the Giants and I hope that you are as welcoming to Doug Christiansen coming in to replace me as you were to me. Thanks for two great years, I will miss you all.”

In the last two seasons, Steve Thornton won more games than any other coach in the Elite League. Below are the coaching records over the last two seasons in all competitive games (League, Cup, Playoffs – not including preseason exhibition games):

Belfast – 08/09 – 46W 17L 8T
09/10 – 44W 18L 6T
Total – 90W 35L 14T

Coventry- 08/09 41W 19L 5T
09/10 42W 23L 0T
Total 83W 42L 5T

Nottingham- 08/09 40W 16L 6T
09/10 43W 22L 4T
Total 83W 38L 10T

Sheffield- 08/09 45W 11L 8T
09/10 28W 32L 6T
Total 73W 43L 6T