Kane reflects on first year
It’s fair to say that backroom staff rarely find themselves in the spotlight. Yet, if they weren’t there, everybody would notice.
That's especially true of the role of Equipment Manager. Ethan Kane has just completed his first season in the role for the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze and proved to be an integral part to the team.
Ollie Miller recently caught up with him to find out more about the popular personality and talk about his first-year experience.
What is your earliest hockey memory?
EK: “My earliest memory of hockey was playing NHL 2000 on the PlayStation and watching The Mighty Ducks!”
How did you find your first season working as Equipment Manager for the Blaze?
EK: “It has been such a great experience, challenging at times but all round it was a fantastic first season.”
What has been the biggest challenge?
EK: “On a personal level, it’s been the most difficult year of my life for various reasons, so remaining focussed was a massive challenge. Managing my time and balancing work and life has also been something I have had to work on over the season. Smalley has been a great help and teacher and I want to thank him sincerely for what he's done for me. You also have to ready at all times as there’s so many curveballs in the job.”
How did you end up getting the job?
EK: “I used to be the catering manager for Planet Ice so I had day to day communications with the team and back office staff. I then moved to Coombe Abbey for a few months and the morning after the awards night last year, Danny (Stewart) and his wife popped in and the opportunity presented itself from there really.”
How has it been working with Danny?
EK: “It’s a bit of a rollercoaster at times but I have never worked with somebody who has so much passion and drive for their job role. Having watched him play for years I've always been a fan of his. Without getting too personal, he really had my back last season through a lot of situations. He pulled me up and put me in my place when I needed it yet checked in too. I know coaches can be put under a lot of pressure especially on social media but people and fans really don't see the work that is put in behind a closed door. He is a huge role model to myself and I'm sure others around.”
How did you feel when the season came to an abrupt end?
EK: “It was a big blow for everybody! Especially with the incredible run we were on. The fire amongst the players and coaches was unmatchable. I feel It gives us a great motive for when the league returns though, like we have unfinished business!”
Were Blaze going to win the playoffs?
EK: “It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen a team with so much passion play at the Skydome. Those boys had the determination and strength to go all the way.”
Did you have any favourite players to work with?
EK: “I know I have nothing to compare it too as it was my first season but literally every single player in that locker room was easy to get along with. There was no hostility whatsoever. Everybody was up for having a laugh and treated each other like brothers. It was a privilege to be a part of.”
Which player broke the most sticks?
EK: “That has to be a tie between (Evan) Bloodoff and (Justin) Hamonic). Every time I make a comment to Justin he says he won’t snap one for another week and will pick a date, sometimes he makes the date, sometimes he doesn’t.”
What is the best thing about the role?
EK: “The family I have gained. I have been made a part of a huge organisation and been trusted with so much. I have always been on the outside, looking in from a fan perspective. It's been really interesting learning what goes into the daily running of the Coventry Blaze and now it's an honour to be a big part of that.”
Do any particular games stand out for you?
EK: “My first ever away game in Nottingham during pre-season because it was my first, and the game on 1st March in Nottingham where we won in a shootout. Such a good feeling especially when trailing 3-2 in the final minute.”
Speaking of Nottingham away, what happened in the Christmas fixture where both teams played the first period in light jerseys?
EK: “Funny story, the week before the Nottingham jersey incident I messed up on the road to Guildford. I packed our Blue Jerseys (for some unknown reason). I didn't realise until Forbes asked just as we were leaving why we were wearing blue on the road! So, when the players iced in Nottingham, Stewy, Keeno and a few players instantly turned to me to ask if id messed up again and I honestly had to think twice! Turns out it wasn’t my mistake and I'm not the only human Equipment Manager. I distinctively remember Clements coming off his first shift saying how scary it was out there. The officials decided to play it until the end of the first to minimise delays. I massively noticed a difference in gameplay from both sides, a bit slower to be safer for sure.”
You mention you have been a fan of the club for many years, what’s your favourite ever moment?
EK: “It was being there for my first full season during the Grand Slam year of 04/05. I knew who Wade Belak was before from playing in Toronto and having him here was huge. I actually now have a number 3 tattooed on my neck and have played the last decade as number 3 for that reason.”
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us.
EK: “No problem.”