Club news

Stewart makes important off-ice additions

Genting Casino Coventry Blaze Head Coach Danny Stewart has made two important additions to his off-ice team for the 2018/19 Elite League season.

Dayle "Keeno" Keen (@Keeeeno88) will join the club as Skills Development Coach, whilst the services of expert Mindfulness Coach Suryacitta Malcolm Smith (@happybuddhauk) have also been secured.

Keen, is a pro hockey coach of over 10 years who has been working throughout the UK, Sweden, Norway and Finland and is a featured writer for the coaches site; bringing constraints-based learning to ice hockey.

Over the past two years, he has been working as Assistant and then Head Coach of the Basingstoke Bison under-18’s squad, also taking on an Assistant coach role in the EPIHL with Sheffield Steeldogs during 2016/17. Before that he was a player-coach for Kilmarnock Storm of the SNL.

In addition to the formal coaching roles, he has been working with some of the finest young players across Scandinavia with the The Suihkonen Hockey Academy and The Furudals Hockeyskola. Within the UK, he has also had the pleasure of working with the Best of British Ice Hockey camps.

Keen has had many published articles (read here) for the Canadian coaching site, where coaches from all over the world have complimented the KEENhockey style of coaching.

On the addition of Keen, Stewart commented, “’I’ve known ‘Keeno’ for close to nine years now and I’m so happy to bring him here to work with us in Coventry. Not only is it a fantastic opportunity for him to further his career, but it will also be a huge benefit to myself and the players on the ice. Skill work is very technical, and a specific part of the game today, and to have someone that has worked towards specialising in that area can only benefit us all. On top of that, he has an infectious personality and will bring some good energy to our group. The guys will love him.”

Keen said, “I am delighted to come on board in Coventry, a great hockey town with a terrific history in British hockey. It’s an honour to be working with Danny, I think he epitomises what it means to be in professional hockey.

“Skill development encompasses not only the improvement of skill but also the acquisition. I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best players from Scandinavia and now I’m really looking forward to working with the Blaze.”

Mindfulness Coach Suryacitta Malcolm Smith began working with Blaze during the middle of last season, alongside Stewart helping to oversee a significant upturn in performance and results.

Suryacitta has dedicated his life to practicing and teaching of Mindfulness since 1989. An author of three books and co-designer of the MSc in Mindfulness and Compassion at Coventry University, he is one of the most experienced and respected teachers in the UK and leads events around the world.

As co-founder of Mindfulness CIC, with the Blaze, his focus will be on mindfulness in a sporting context, working on the psychological aspect of the game to help enhance and maximise performance.

Stewart said of Suryacitta’s introduction, “Surya joined us in January last season after we felt our group had battled much adversity and some mental lapses. I was very impressed with his methods and felt it created a lot of discussion within our room. It created awareness when we found ourselves in stressful situations and we seemed to handle those moments better down the stretch. I have no doubt his expertise played a role in that. We focus so much on training our bodies physically that sometimes we forget about our heads. I’m excited to have him as part of our club moving forward and I’m sure our players will as well.”

Suryacitta commented, “To perform at your best, no matter what sport you are engaged in, you need to get out of your head and into the present moment. This is my work, this is what mindfulness is all about. I am looking forward to working with Danny and his team again in the new season.”