Friday, April 19, 2024

‘We complement each other’: Shane McLeod returns to Belgium hockey set up

Shane McLeod, who led Belgium to world No.1 and the Olympic men’s title last year, has returned to the Red Lions as an assistant coach.

The Kiwi has ended his sabbatical early after taking time away from the game after Tokyo 2020 to take in more family time and he now rejoins the team regarded as the world’s best side as an assistant.

He joins head coach Michel van den Heuvel, who succeeded him as coach after the Olympics, the Royal Belgian Hockey Association said on Wednesday.

McLeod will link up with the Red Lions until at least the World Cup in India early next year. The 53-year old will join Craig Fulton as an assistant coach.

McLeod took over as Red Lions coach in 2015. Belgium won Olympic silver the following year before world and European cup success in 2018 and 2019 – and completing the set with Olympic gold last summer.

Red Lion Loïck Luypaert told Sporza: “If Shane can fit into that role and he can make the group better, then we all win. Which team wouldn’t get better with Shane McLeod in it? He can make us better in any position.”

Head coach Van den Heuvel didn’t see any conflicts with McLeod returning as an assistant.

He said: “Shane is just a great colleague to work with. We complement each other well. We approach things in different ways. That collective has been successful for the past six years.

“I already had certain responsibilities within the group. That’s why I won’t have any problems sharing responsibilities myself. That’s just how we work.”

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