STEVIE Lyle appears to have solved the conundrum of managing his Swindon Wildcats team whilst simultaneously batting away puck after puck next season.

The Wildcats chief has re-signed experienced Canadian D-man Kenton Smith as his fifth import but the 35-year-old will operate primarily as a bench coach, coordinating Swindon’s lines when Lyle is out between the pipes.

Smith, who also spent two years playing alongside Lyle with the Cardiff Devils, made 28 appearances for Swindon last term but spent plenty of time on the sidelines alongside previous boss Ryan Aldridge.

The Wildcats blueliner will still ice next season if necessary but Lyle is looking forward to putting Smith’s experience to use in a coaching capacity.

“Kenton will be my bench coach and I’m really happy that he’s coming back,” said Lyle.

“He’ll be there to play if we have players injured or anything like that but I want him to be on the bench.

“I won’t be able to see everything in front of me and having someone with his experience will really help me out.

“He enjoys it and the players like him a lot too.”

Smith, who joined Swindon from Elite League Braehead Clan at the beginning of last seaon added: “Stevie asked me a few months ago if I would be interested and I told him straight away that I would love the opportunity to help him and the Wildcats as a bench coach next season.

“It really was a no brainer.”

Smith, Jan Kostal, Tomasz Malasinski, Sami Ryhanen and Miroslav Zalesak make up the Wildcats’ international battalion for next season, meaning that Jonas Hoog and Tomas Kana won’t be returning to the Link Centre.

Swedish forward Hoog, 28, returned to the club in October last year and racked up 62 points in 35 games whilst Czech Kana, 27, signed for the Wildcats midway through the season and contributed with 16 points in 15 matches.

Coach Lyle said: “Those two won’t be coming back but I just felt that I needed to put my own stamp on the team – I’m really happy with the imports that I’ve brought in.”