Thompson Proud To Be Part Of Blaze's 1000th Match

Last updated : 01 January 2011 By PM
Coventry Blaze coach Paul Thompson spoke of his pride as the club prepares to celebrate its 1,000th game when Sheffield Steelers visit the Skydome in the Elite League tomorrow night.

Thompson, 42, has been in charge since its inception in 1996 and is Europe's longest-serving head coach.

The first 240 games were played as Solihull Blaze before the team relocated to Coventry in the summer of 2000.

The club's overall record stands at 638 wins, 61 ties and 300 losses with 4912 goals being scored and 3112 conceded.

Blaze have won virtually every competition they have competed in and are the most successful team in the Elite League era.

Thompson said to the official Blaze website: "There have been highs and lows - but mainly highs.

"We have gone from being an English National League club to the best team in the UK for the last few years.

"I am very proud of what we have done. It wouldn't have been possible without the hard work and dedication of Andy Buxton and Mike Cowley as well.

"We have all been committed to getting the club where it is now and it is something we are very proud of. I am also proud to have been the coach every bit of the way."

However, Thompson admits he is going through his most challenging time at the club.

His roster has been decimated by injuries all season and they suffered another major setback when leading goalscorer Owen Fussey was ruled out for the rest of the season after he tore his medial collateral ligament and anterior cruciate ligament during the 6-4 defeat by Sheffield at the Sheffield Arena on Thursday night and now requires surgery.

Thompson, though, has been delighted with the response of the players.

He said: "The one thing you often find in adversity is that everyone pulls together and that is what my guys have done.

"Against Sheffield the other night they were not lacking in desire and commitment - and that can get you a long way.

"We also need our fans to really rally behind us at the moment because the injuries we have had have just been unbelievable.

"I have got some challenges over the next few weeks but haven't we all in life."

Be part of the 1000th Blaze game this Sunday! Tickets available from the Skydome Arena box office, on 024 76 630 693 (option 0)

Coventry Blaze have suffered a huge blow after top scorer Owen Fussey was ruled out for the rest of the season.
The Canadian forward, signed in the summer from Elite League rivals Edinburgh Capitals, had scored 24 goals in 34 matches.
But he tore his medial collateral ligament and anterior cruciate ligament during the 6-4 defeat by Sheffield Steelers at the Sheffield Arena last night and now requires surgery.
It is also a setback on the international front too as Fussey would have been eligible for the Great Britain squad for April's World Championships.
Coach Paul Thompson, also in charge of the GB team, said: "It's a massive blow and I really feel for Owen at the minute. It's also a blow as far as GB is concerned because he would have been a huge asset.
"We are working out our finances right now to see if there is any way we can bring someone in to help us out but players like Owen Fussey don't grow on trees and they are not available at this time of year.
"It's like a knife through the heart being told he is out for the season."
Meanwhile, there is better news on goaltender Brett Jaeger.
The Canadian had to be replaced midway through the Steelers game after sustaining a hamstring injury but after further examination the problem is not as bad as first feared.
Jaeger will be monitored over the next 24-48 hours and it won't be known until the last minute whether he will be able to ice in Sunday's home clash with Sheffield - the 1,000th match in the club's history.