Scott McKenzie has explained the reasoning behind his decision to leave his position as Deeside Dragons player-coach.
The Dragons released a statement after Sunday’s 11-1 home loss to Solihull Barons confirming they had released the player-coach from his contract ‘with a heavy heart’.
And McKenzie told the Chronicle: “I’ve made a lot of good friends, the players are great, and to do what we did last season was nothing short of a miracle.
“But results haven’t gone our way this season and could I see it changing in the not the too distant future? The answer to that is ‘no’.
“It felt like I had gone down every avenue to try and get more out of the players and everything I was trying wasn’t working.
“It’s definitely not against the players, it just wasn’t working. Sometimes a change has to be made and, unfortunately, that change was for me to go.
“It’s something me and Chris Armstrong, the GM [general manager], had spoken about at length, and while it was a difficult decision, we felt it was the right one for the club to move forward, and for me to get back to enjoying my hockey again.”
McKenzie has now signed as a player for the Dragons’ league rivals Telford Tigers.
The 31-year-old took over the Deeside Ice Rink outfit in July 2016 after they secured promotion to NIHL North One.
In his sole full season in charge he played a starring role as the club maintained its Moralee Conference status with a thrilling relegation-promotion showdown victory over his former club Widnes Wild.
That led McKenzie to agreeing a new contract with the Dragons in April after their great escape.
But six months later he has left with the club rooted to the bottom of the North One standings.
McKenzie said: “It’s been like a whirlwind. It feels like I’ve been in Deeside for five or six years not just 18 months.
“There’s been some great memories, especially the win over Widnes and the way we won it, and they will live with me.
“We lost some influential players we couldn’t replace, like Marc Lovell and Filip Supa, but while results haven’t gone well, the club is in a good place.
“We’ve got two teams and, financially, the Deeside Dragons Ice Hockey Club is in the best position it has been in years. It was a massive focus for me and Chris at the start of the season that we didn’t want to spend money we didn’t have, and that the club would survive through any circumstance. It is a club that is ready to be built on.
“I feel like I achieved a lot and I feel like I had the players’ respect but it will be a nice break for me to just go and play again, and try and win some trophies.”
The Dragons travel to sixth-placed Solway Sharks this Saturday (7pm) before entertaining second-placed Sheffield Steeldogs on Sunday (5.30pm).