Cats coach Ryan happy to take a seat
FINALLY, Ryan Aldridge is where he wants to be.
No longer does the 34-year-old have to combine the dual demands of playing and coaching the Swindon Wildcats.
Three-and-a-half seasons have passed since he first took the job of player-coach at the Link Centre, having previously held the same role at Basingstoke, and now he has moved into the role he always craved - head coach.
Aldridge could be forgiven for missing the cut and thrust of competitive ice hockey, but he insists he is looking forward to taking a step back and analysing the action from the bench.
“I was on the ice the other night just because it might be one of my last times, but did I really enjoy it? I think I've already got my coaching hat on to be honest,” he said.
“That's where I want to be and it's where I've wanted to be for the last four or five years.
“I've always been up front and honest, I want to go further in my coaching career and I'm probably never going to do that as a player-coach.
“It's always been right for the team and the budget for me to ice, but this year we've managed to get the team so I don't need to.
“I think we (Aldridge and Swindon general manager Steve Nell) are agreed that it's the best idea for the team and I can't wait to get going now.”
The head coach admitted his previous role had sometimes been tricky to carry out, adding that 2012/13 should be more straightforward.
“The style of player I am didn't help, I have to get myself into a certain mood to go out on the ice and do the job I do,” continued Aldridge.
“It probably wasn't the best thing to do because you were already in a different mindset (to a coaching mindset) before you go on the ice.
“Head coach is a tough job anyway but this way it's a lot easier, I get to see all the game and talk to the guys after every shift.”
Swindon begin their English Premier League campaign at home to Manchester tonight (5.45pm) and travel to Sheffield tomorrow (5.30pm).
Defenceman Shane Moore believes Wildcats are in good shape following Wednesday’s 7-5 challenge match win at Slough.
“It was a great start ready to take into the weekend,” he said.
“The first win is always the hardest and now we’ve got that winning mentality.”
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