A Fitting Tribute

Corey Neilson

There was a surprise announcement as Nottingham Panthers lifted the Elite League championship trophy on Friday night. General Manager Gary Moran revealed the new Championship banner at the stage end of the NIC and joining the retired shirts of #3 Gary Rippingale, #10 Randall Weber, #11 Greg Hadden & #22 Paul Adey was a new number, the #77 of coach Corey Neilson.

Many have scoffed at the honour (admittedly from other fanbases) but I really don’t know how anyone can deny that Neilson doesn’t deserve such a tribute. Of course some Panthers fans will point out that there are other former players who deserve to have the honour bestowed on them and while I would agree, that is another debate for another time.

You have to look at the facts, Neilson has been with the club for seven seasons, the same as amount of time that fellow shirt retiree Greg Hadden was with the club. In that time the figures are astounding. In 373 Panthers games he has scored 78 goals, 272 assists for 350 points in total, as a player he’s won two trophies, as player/coach five and the most important one as coach. There’s also a strong possibility that will be two trophies as coach in a few days time.
As a player he was widely regarded as one of the best defenceman in the league and to be fair he has the figures to back that up.
As a coach he has been the most successful in the Elite League era, six trophies in five seasons so far and that could be eight in five if we add the Challenge Cup & Play-Off title to that haul. Only Paul Thompson, widely regarded as the best coach in the league, can come close to that.

In the past many called for his head, I was one of them, but I have been proved wrong. That is probably why I manage training for a High Street retailer rather than run a hockey club! Corey Neilson deserves the honour that has been given him by the Panthers. He is leading us through a golden era in our history and that #77 on the banner will always be there to remind us.


6 Responses to “A Fitting Tribute”

  1. 1 Sickboy March 23, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    I agree, Corey had alot of criticism a few seasons ago some of which was way over the top and far to personal , most coaches would have walked but he must have gonads of concrete to keep going and he fully deserves to get the big one and to be recognised by the club.

  2. 2 Andrew Warren March 23, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    My only thoughts as to why not, is if you seprrate the coaching from playing does he deserve his shirt retired? To answer that, if he hadn’t of won the title, would you retire the number? If yes, Clarke will be a shoe in. As a coach, should you have your playing shirt retired?

    This is no reflection on panthers, but if you keep retiring numbers, you end up like futurama. All the whole numbers have been retired and players wear fractions. Shirt retirements should be for the truley great. Does Nielson qualify for that?

  3. 3 Peter Montgomery March 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Thought he’d walk or be sacked when his sidekick Bruce Richardson went
    but good job he stayed

  4. 4 John Thomas March 23, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Totally agree with the views in this article. He has had to put up with a good deal of criticism, much of it highly personal, but has stuck to his principles and brought a level of success that could only have been dreamed of a few years ago. I think particular praise is due for building a team which has proved that championships can be won with attractive, entertaining, hockey rather than the defence dominated, niggling, grinding style which has characterized most of our predecessors.

  5. 5 wink wilson March 24, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    HAIL TO THE CHIEF!! CORY NEILSON! This man can be ranked with all the PRO hockey great coaches to-day! His results verify his skills! great job MR “C”. professor wink wilson

  6. 6 wink wilson March 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    you are a great hockey coach with the Panther players –2012-2013 season

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