Image: Scott Wiggins / Coventry Blaze Press Release
Image: Scott Wiggins / Coventry Blaze Press Release

Elite Series: Paul Swindlehurst sidelined for ‘at least two weeks’, Danny Stewart confirms

Coventry Blaze head coach Danny Stewart has confirmed that sixth overall pick Paul Swindlehurst will miss the opening fortnight of 2021 Elite Series. The 27-year-old was injured while playing in an NIHL North Cup fixture for the Blackburn Hawks.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Stewart said: “[Swindlehurst] He saw the specialist yesterday and he’s got an upper body injury, he will be [out] for at least two weeks, possibly longer.

“We’re going to bring him in and give him the physio he needs to get better and we’ll go from there.”

The Coventry Blaze are scheduled to play six games in the next fourteen days, with a seventh arranged for Thursday 15 March.

Swindlehurst, a regular figure in Pete Russell’s national team, made eight appearances in Poland, registering one assist for Unia Oswiecim.

Upon his return to the UK, the Blackrod-born defenceman was injured in his sole appearance for the Blackburn Hawks. The left-handed skater was hurt during a collision in the final period of last weekend’s North Cup final, in which the Widnes Wild prevailed 3-2.

In addition to a question about Paul Swindlehurst’s injury status, The Boar Sport tabled the following points to Coventry Blaze head coach Danny Stewart:

Question: After spending time in France and Poland, what do you expect from Luke Ferrara upon his return?

“The same kind of thing that we’ve seen from Luke Ferrara. He’s been fortunate in the sense that he’s been able to play a lot of hockey this year and I think coming back will be refreshing for him. He’s been away in France, he’s been away in Poland, I’ve spoken to him several times and he’s really excited to come back.

“I think, when he comes back, he’ll be energised to be around his boys again. I think that’ll be good for the room.”

Question: What is the process for Ferrara’s return from Poland?

“Obviously, we’ve got to wait for the result of the final there in Poland. Once it’s done, we’ve got to get his Covid test booked. Once we’ve done that and have an idea for when he’ll get his results, we’ll book him a flight over and get him into the bubble.

“Obviously, he’s had the benefit of playing, so there won’t be an easing-in factor. He should be able to get off the plane and jump right on the ice to start practising with us.”

Question: Nicolai Bryhnisveen returns to Coventry after a couple of seasons away, what should supporters expect from him during the Elite Series?

“He’s an experienced guy, I think we’ll see a lot of the same of what we saw two years ago. He’s a very mobile defencemen, very active. You’ll see him up and down the ice and as an announcer you might get confused about whether he is a forward or a D-man sometimes.

“But he makes it work, and we’ll give him that freedom. I think we’ll see the same.”

Question: You had to put this roster together quickly, were you looking for any particular characteristics?

“We looked a lot at being young but didn’t just zero in on that. Obviously, we wanted guys with ability, and – like I mentioned earlier – we had in mind some younger guys coming through that we could take a look at, both imports and Brits.

The signings of Nick Jermain and Tristan Keck have allowed us to do that. Having players like Mac Howlett, Toms Rutkis, and Sam Duggan allows us to learn a little bit about them.

“You never know in the future, although we’ve really emphasised our British core in the last couple of years and we really feel that they’ve developed and are maybe one of the best Brit cores in the league, there will come a day when one or two of them move on and we’ll have to replace them.

“The more that we can learn about players on our shores the better.”

Question: You drafted a number of players from the NIHL, has anyone particularly impressed you since the start of training camp?

“I can’t say really. Things have happened so quickly and these guys are really getting the kinks out. We’ve had a couple of guys who haven’t been on the ice in three months. Jokingly, I said to them that ‘I’ll wait until after week one to start judging you’.”


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