Stingrays' Jeff Smith wants hockey coaching role
HULL Stingrays' Jeff Smith hopes to stay in ice hockey when he calls time on his playing career.
The 32-year-old Canadian feels he has another couple of years left before he finally hangs up his skates.
But then, he says, coaching could be a way of remaining in the sport.
"If I can continue to be involved in hockey for the rest of my life I'd be the happiest man on the planet," said Smith.
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"I had an offer this year to coach in Holland and had an offer to coach back home, but they found someone else and he's a good guy.
"I still have an offer on the table back home whenever I want it as an assistant coach.
"The head coach will not get fired ever and he's said 'as long as I am here you will have a job'.
"I want to play two or three more years and as long as my body holds up I'll keep playing."
If his thoughts of coaching do not come to fruition, then Smith said he would like to go into teaching.
The Rapid Solicitors Stingrays have just six games left to secure their Elite League play-off place.
Inevitably, thoughts are already turning to the next season with player-coach Sylvain Cloutier, netminder Ben Bowns and forward Jereme Tendler taking up the second seasons of their two-year deals.
Smith admits he's keeping an open mind on what the future holds playing wise when the curtain falls on his first year in Stingrays' colours.
"I don't really think about it until August when I start panicking," said Smith, whose CV includes stints in North America as well as Holland and at Stingrays' rivals Coventry Blaze.
"I've no plans for next year but I want to keep playing.
"It's one of those things, it's out of my hands. If Hull want me back, absolutely.
"If not, I've had a great time. I will try and win a championship here then I will go wherever, whoever wants me.
"I just want to play hockey, I am 32, on my last year or two as a player, but I still have the drive and urge to play."
STINGRAYS have urged fans to buy their tickets in advance for Sunday's clash at Hull Arena with Nottingham Panthers, due to high demand from the Elite League title chasers.