Thompson led the Coventry Blaze to four Elite League titles in six years as well as numerous cup and play off successes including the 2005 Grand Slam. After 14 years coaching in Coventry with the Blaze coupled with 5 years as the head coach of the GB mens senior team Thompson moved to Sweden to coach in Troja-Ljungby before last year taking Danish side Aalborg into the play offs.
Steelers owner Tony Smith confirmed the appointment, saying: “These are exciting times and the start of new era. I am thrilled that Paul is joining us. I have known him for a number of years during his time with Coventry and GB and have always been impressed with his drive and desire, it attracted me in signing him here.
“The position is Head Coach and General Manager and that is an important one to understand. Paul will oversee all of our hockey operations and that includes the new under 20’s side we are keen to start when the national under 20’s league commences.
“Paul had moved away to Europe to develop his career and make himself better. I liked that. I believe that Paul will challenge the rest of us at the club to be better and that he will lead us. I don’t want us to be a club that goes from one year to another, I want the Steelers to have a long term plan, I want us to be a great club as well as a great team. I believe Paul has the experience and expertise to deliver that requirement long term.
“This move isn’t just about winning trophies. Of course it’s important to win and we all want to deliver success to our fans. I do though want structure and a set up that encourages development for the long term. I want a stable future for the Steelers. Off the ice I believe we have delivered that and now it is time for us to do the same on the playing side. Paul Thompson is the right man to lead that task.”
Paul Thompson said: “The move has come about quickly. I had every intention of remaining in Denmark and signing a long term contract there with Aalborg this summer. I enjoyed Denmark but it would have also meant 3 years away from my family and that was something of a consideration.
“I met Tony Smith and he outlined his plans for the club going forward. To be honest it ticked a lot of the box’s for me as a head coach and GM. It got me thinking and it got me excited. I hadn’t any intention of returning to the UK but Sheffield and the Steelers, well that’s different.
“The Champions League as well, that really excites me. It’s big for me. It’s the future. It’s always tough signing a championship team. I had to do it four times in Coventry. Every player wants a rise or a big move. We do have here though a very good core group of guys under contract. I have to make sure that this summer and it’s key I improve the positions of the players we los
“I’ve always relished the challenge, taking on the Steelers is the latest challenge of my career and one I can’t wait for.”