At the beginning of the summer, the Vulcans appointed Joe Mann as their new head player coach, Joe brings with him a wealth of hockey expertise and shared his vision for the club in a recent interview.

New Year’s Eve 1999, Joe went to his first ever Steelers game and it was then that he decided he wanted to be a hockey player. He started in roller hockey, playing goalie for the Bircotes Bombers, winning two junior national championships before making the transition to ice hockey in 2006 where he enjoyed successes with a number of northern teams.

Uni commitments forced Mann to take a break from hockey, although he maintained coaching links with the Sheffield Vipers until 2014 when he quit the sport completely, turning his attention to Rugby League. Joe joined the RAF in 2016, where he represented the Service in rugby, but injury ended his playing career and he returned to his ice hockey roots. He was given his first Inter-Service Cap this summer at the UK Armed Forces tournament.

A posting to RAF Conningsby saw him appointed as head player coach of the Vulcans. Mann has a clear vision for the Club “I think a coach always tries to imprint their character and own style of play on to a team, while utilising the best traits of others in the group.”

He explains, “For the most part, the teams I’ve been on haven’t been made up of super skilled guys, but ones who are willing to dig in, grind to a win and give their all until the final whistle.” That style has already started to emerge with the Vulcans and the players have clearly bought into Mann’s ethos.

“Simple effective hockey wins games. All I ask from my players is hard work and to play for their team mates. Once they buy into that, everything else falls into place.”

Mann explains that he was brought up watching the Philadelphia Flyers and hearing stories of the Broad Street Bullies, “Take away the rough stuff of how that team went about their business and you’re left with the simple things I’m asking for. That’s the identity I want to create.”

The Vulcans are already enjoying the fruits of their labour, crowned 2019 RAF Champions in August, the team have a lot of confidence going into the season. “However, that early success won’t go to their heads, I’m sure the players know we’ll have ups and downs, with each game providing its own challenges. Playing structured, hard effective hockey, I believe we can be very successful for years to come.”

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