Panthers Hire Danny Stewart

Last Tuesday, The Nottingham Panthers announced that Danny Stewart would be the new Panthers head coach for the 2024/25 season. I will get on to the appointment later but first I need to catch you all up on the events since the Panthers Awards night.  

Firstly, we have to say bon voyage to Jonathan Parades who joins French side Ducs D’Angers on a massive 3-year deal. Parades was offered a deal with the Nottingham Panthers but after an emotionally straining season it is completely understandable why he has decided to go back to his home country to coach. I think I speak for all fans when I say a huge thank you to Jonathan. He pulled this side together and always put a fiercely competitive side out on the ice and his teams were always great to watch. I wish him all the best for the upcoming seasons, and he will always have a home here in Nottingham.  

On a happier note, the news that Otto Nieminen has re-signed for the 2024/25 season. Otto finished as the Panthers top goal-scorer and point scorer and picked up Goal of the season, Fan’s player of the year and most valuable player. Obviously, this is a huge statement of intent from the Panthers, and I think he perfectly fits what it means to be a Panther with his tremendous level of effort, skill and determination. You can expect Otto to be towards the top of the point charts and I can’t wait to see Otto back in Black and Gold. 

Moore news came out this morning (excuse the pun). Kevin Moore was announced to be the Head Coach of the Coventry Blaze. I am thrilled for Kevin; he deserves the chance to stay in the league and grow his game and he was offered to be back as an assistant coach for the Nottingham Panthers. No one can blame him for taking the Coventry head coach job and I hope he smashes it over there. It will be a challenge for him, Coventry has a passionate fan base but the resources don’t match the up to the league challengers but what Kevin needs is time. At only 35 years old in his professional head coaching role, he will inevitably make mistakes, but he needs time to adapt, improve and overcome form these. All the best Kevin, once a Panther always a Panthers.  

Now we get onto the big news, Danny Stewart is the Head Coach of the Nottingham Panthers. An appointment that I don’t think anyone saw coming, especially not me! The reaction on social media was certainly… mixed, as some ludicrous comments came around that I won’t entertain here. Many criticised the appointment with one twitter using saying ‘Panthers are scrapping the barrel’ but I don’t think this could be further from the truth. I for one, hugely respect the job Danny has done in Coventry for the past 8 years on what looks to be one of the smallest budgets in the league. His teams always battle and compete hard and always a handful for even the toughest opposition. There is no doubt that he will bring this philosophy and work ethic to Nottingham and when you add in the extra budget, better facilities and off-ice staff I really think you have a recipe for success. As someone who scouts ice hockey, I don’t think there is a better recruiter in the EIHL. The talent Danny has brought into the league is phenomenal with household names like Kim Tallberg, Janne Laakkonen, Kevin Noble and Marc Olivier Vallerand. Not to mention the helping hand he has had with GB superstars like David Clements, Ben Lake, Nate Halbert and Johnny Curran. Also, some underrated gems like Kobe Roth and Alessio Luciani. For me, what has held Danny and Coventry back was a lack of depth. Stewart could find superstar talent from nothing but when it comes to line 3/4 they lack behind the rest of the league. In Nottingham he has the resources to find superstars and build depth around them and make a seriously competitive roster. Omar has already revealed that some of the ‘core’ from last year have already been re-signed for the upcoming year! 

Overall, I think this is a fantastic appointment for Panthers and I simply cannot wait for the upcoming season!  

*Article provided by Joe Maciag (Ice Hockey Correspondent).

*Main image @PanthersIHC Panthers new Head Coach Danny Stewart.

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