Outgoing Deeside Dragons head coach Steve Fellows has said that his successor is the right man for the job.
Fellows three-year stint as player-coach for the Dragons came to an end on Wednesday after the Laidler Conference side's new owners Red Hockey Ltd opted to hand the reins to experienced former Telford Tigers player Lawrence 'Lol' Paul.
Paul, who was in charge of Deeside's under-18s and U16s programmes in 2012, will assume the head coaches position for next season and has been tasked with turning the club into title challengers.
And Fellows, who is likely to return as a player for the Dragons next season, believes that it is the right time for change for the club and predicts a bright future under the stewardship of the experienced Paul.
"I think that Lol is the right guy for the right job and he has the time to focus solely on the team," said Fellows, who hasn't ruled out assisting Paul in some capacity next season.
"The new owners have got a lot of contacts with Telford Tigers and the company's owner, Wayne Scholes, was Tigers' stick boy in the 80s before going on to be a hugely successful businessman. Lol played for the Tigers so they know him, what he's all about and they know he has a track record of being a winner.
"They (Red Hockey) don't know too much about me and, to be fair, you are going to go with what you know. Lol has more experience than me and that is what the club needs to move forward. As soon as I found out I sent Lol my congratulations and best wishes. He wants me to sign on next season as a player so hopefully my time with the Dragons can continue."
Fellows led the team to second in his first two seasons in charge at the Deeside Ice Rink but last season proved to be a tough one initially, although the Dragons did overcome a bad start to register a fifth-place finish.
Fellows believes the takeover of the club by Red Hockey, who also own the Telford Tigers and have shares in both the Manchester Phoenix and the Bracknell Bees, can breathe new life into ice hockey in Flintshire and predicts a bright future for the club.
"It is really exciting times for the club, the players and the fans," added Fellows. "Red Hockey have the best interests of the club at heart and they want to make it sustainable and competitive. I think that it could become a fully professional team in the not-too-distant future. The future is very, very bright for the club."
Red Hockey completed their 100% takeover over the club last week, reaching a deal with Flintshire County Council, who had been running the club for a number of years.
The takeover followed the announcement that the Dragons would be sharing their home ice with English Premier League side Manchester Phoenix next season while the Lancashire side await construction of their own. purpose built venue in Greater Manchester.
Right man for the job
Red Hockey director Paul Baker says that the contacts that Paul has in the game were pivotal in their decision to appoint the retired fireman, and predicts he has what it takes to push them forward next season.
Baker said: "When we first looked at investing in Deeside, we knew straight away that having good contacts would be very important. That is why we identified Lol as the ideal man to develop this club.
"He has the ability to sign players that are familiar with the Dragons, and can also take them forward next season. We want to build a quality squad, and he can do that for us.
"Of course, it isn’t just about signing players, and Lol has some great coaching credentials. His time in charge of Deeside’s U18s and U16s sides shows he is willing to learn and grow with this club.”
Baker added: "Next season looks like being incredibly competitive, and we’re focused on creating the best Dragons team we can. It would be great to bring some silverware to Deeside.
"There are a lot of good teams in the Laidler Conference, so nothing will be taken for granted. Lol knows the ice hockey community in the area very well, so he is the ideal appointment."