A CANADIAN forward with 122 career goals has been confirmed as Fife Flyers’ first Elite League signing.
Matt Siddall, a ninth round entry draft of NHL side Atlanta Thrashers in 2004, will join the Kirkcaldy side for their debut EIHL season.
The 26-year-old is Fife’s first import signing in seven years, and was recommended by former Flyers coach Mark Morrison, who coached him at the now defunct Victoria Salmon Kings in the ECHL over the past two years.
Having racked up 21 goals, 23 assists and 164 penalty minutes in the ECHL last season, Flyers player-coach Todd Dutiaume expects his first summer signing to make a big impact in Kirkcaldy.
Dutiaume said: “We’re really pleased to announce Matt as our first import signing.
“He is a great guy and comes with good credentials. He will be a great leader for our team.
“I think he’s going to be a big impact player for us. He scores goals, he drives the net hard, and he’s tough. He will be one of our major players.”
Siddall has American Hockey League experience having made 20 appearances for the Chicago Wolves in the 2008-09 season, but he is completely new to these shores, and will make his UK debut with Fife.
Dutiaume added: “His CV and the reputation that came along with his name were the two big factors for us.
“I talked to three different friends about him and heard nothing but good words.
“He’s never been over here before, and he’s really exciting about it.
“We appreciate that fans have been patient, and we’re hoping to announce a few more signings in the coming weeks.”
Dutiaume indicated that he has decided which local players will be offered a place in the club’s first ever EIHL roster, and he will inform them of his decision over the next week.
“Signing up our Brits is a priority of ours,” he said.
“We’ve identified the guys that we want to make the jump, and now it’s a case of getting them signed up.”
With up to 10 imports making their way to Fife, it is inevitable that some household names from the recent Northern League era will not be making the step up to the EIHL.
“Whatever number of imports we bring in, they will replace individuals in our squad from last year,” Dutiaume confirmed.
“We’re going to start skating as a team at the end of the month and everyone will be invited to skate with us.
“But we’ll expect the pace to be a lot higher, and there will be a lot more expected out of guys.
“Some will be able to adjust and handle it – some won’t.
“Our aim is to have as many local players in the team as possible, and while our youth might not have the strength or the speed for it yet, they will be asked to stick around next year because they will be the future for us.
“There’s definitely going to be a youth factor surrounding our team because we want to develop for future years as well.”