Fife Flyers’ coach Tom Coolen – from Nova Scotia to Scotland, feeling at home, and taking in the sights

Tom Coolen may be 4000 miles from home, but he feels more than at home in Scotland. He could almost certainly sum up his stay here in one word. Fun.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

A lifetime coaching across Europe, Scandinavia and North America brought him to a country he has always wanted to see.

“Coming from Nova Scotia - or New Scotland - to here seemed a natural move to make,” he said as he and his wife, Jane, were the subjects of a photo-shoot after training on Friday. With lights set up, we chatted as with club photographer, Derek Young set them up for a series of portraits. The subject was Scotland rather than hockey.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

While their lives revolve around a schedule of training, road trips and match nights, they have made the most of their down time in between hockey games and life rinkside to explore as much of the country as possible, with more than a few places still on their bucket list.

Tom and Jane Coolen (Pic: Derek Young)Tom and Jane Coolen (Pic: Derek Young)
Tom and Jane Coolen (Pic: Derek Young)

From climbing Arthur’s Seat and exploring Edinburgh to journeys to the Highlands, they have taken in many of the sights familiar to tourists.“When we came here in September we tried to get a feel for Scotland,” he said. “I’d never been before, but my daughter had actually been to the rink - she is friends with Mike Cazzola and his girlfriend, and came here to see them, so she got here first!

“We’ve been up to the Highlands, Loch Lomond, Glencoe, and I want to go to Balmoral too, and Skye - a lot of songs mention it so it must be a good place to go!”Inverness and Aberdeen remain on his ‘to see’ list, and a podcast chat this week revealed he had yet to sample the delights of Dundee other than its rink on the outskirts of the city.

On his appointment as coach at Fife, he admitted Scotland was a good choice for someone who is a huge fan of the film Braveheart - and it has more than lived up to expectations.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We have been along the coast to all the towns between here and St Andrews often, and it is always a nice trip,” he said.

And there is still time to see more as the Coolens plan on staying on after the season to take in their daughter’s graduation after she completes her studies in Cork in southern Ireland.

Related topics: