Former Cardiff Devils defensive hero joins the Cardiff Fire as NIHL 1 assistant coach for the 2017/18 season.
Mark Smith joined the Devils in 2010 via the Edinburgh Capitals. Prior to coming to the UK Mark came through the Alberta Junior hockey league playing in 238 games scoring 116 points before joining the University of Alaska in the NCAA, the top college league in North America. Mark spent 4 years in the NCAA playing 129 times scoring 47 points.
Following his junior/College career Mark signed in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) for Charlotte Checkers and CHL’s Rocky Mountain Rage. In 2009 he made the move to the UK firstly with the Edinburgh Capitals then onto the Cardiff Devils and Coventry Blaze in the Elite League. Mark played 252 times in the Elite League scoring 20 goals with 58 assists (78 points) Mark was known for his fierce defence displays and was continuously one of the top shot blockers in the league.
Mark Spent last season with Swindon Wildcats in the EPL but an injury cut his season short. Following that injury Mark has decided to start his coaching career and we are delighted he’s picked us.
Mark Cuddihy continued “Its huge for us to be able to bring mark into the coaching set up. Mark’s experience is fantastic, playing for so long in the Elite League and his experience of NCAA hockey is something thats going to be a massive help to our players and myself. We will all learn a lot from him. He’s passionate about hockey and really loves the game, thats going to rub off on everyone in the dressing room. We’re keen to develop players, grow their game and take it to the next level.
Young players in Cardiff are now blessed with every level of senior hockey in the UK and thats rare for a city. I wanted to make sure we had the best coaching set up we could and adding Mark will be crucial to us moving forward, joining Sam Motton and Mike Brabon as the new additions this season. Mark is highly ambitious for his coaching career and thats great for us. We’re all absolutely thrilled to have him onboard”
Mark Smith added “Firstly I want to thank Mark Cuddihy for the opportunity to join the Fire in a coaching role. He is a well known figure in Cardiff ice hockey and I am really looking forward to working with him and bringing the best we can to the Cardiff Fire.
During my playing career coaching was something I never intended to get into, but now with my playing career being over I now realise the itch to stay within the game. I now look forward to passing on the knowledge I have obtained over my career and helping the younger players progress their playing careers as far as they can. Being new to coaching I am sure there will be a learning curve but I am confident in my abilities to help the Fire achieve success. I know several of the players fairly well and I look forward to building quality working relationships with all the guys.
I was always a player that brought 100% to each and every game and training session, and that is something that I will look for players to bring on a nightly basis. Bringing a team first mentality is something that will also be crucial for our success, and hopefully this is another aspect I can help instil in our players. I am looking forward to my first season behind the bench and hopefully I can help to get the best out of everyone for a successful season”
Welcome to the Fire Smitty!!