Dad duties and play-off ambitions for Flyers ace Dingle

Ryan Dingle returned to the ice for the first time since becoming a father in Sunday's 2-1 overtime defeat to Nottingham Panthers. Pic: Steve Gunn

Ryan Dingle returned to the ice for the first time since becoming a father in Sunday's 2-1 overtime defeat to Nottingham Panthers. Pic: Steve Gunn

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Ryan Dingle may not have played for Fife Flyers the weekend before last but his stats still read 2+1.

That’s because the club’s top scorer was playing a much more important off-ice role as he and his wife Sophie became parents for the first time.

While the rest of the Flyers squad travelled to Sheffield and Manchester for back-to-back away games, Dingle stayed behind with his heavily pregnant partner, who was past her due date.

It proved to be the right decision as baby Everett was born on the Sunday, just hours before Flyers stunning 8-2 win over Storm in the Gardiner Conference.

After returning to the ice for the 2-1 overtime defeat to Nottingham Panthers on Sunday, Dingle told the Press: “It’s crazy to think that a week ago I was sitting in hospital with my wife and getting ready to welcome our first born into the world.

“Sophie was overdue, so we made the decision that I wasn’t going to go down with the team. It ended up the right decision.

“The boys took care of business in Manchester and that was something that was definitely on my mind. I didn’t want to abandon the team but they had a spectacular game.

“I was following on Twitter to see how the team were going. I was juggling everything, texting parents and family members and also watching the Flyers score.

“It’s been a bit of a change over the past week, but it’s been fantastic. He’s been sleeping well in five hour stretches. That’s been nice.

“My wife has been incredible and is really stepping up to the plate.

“I’ve not been getting the normal amount of sleep but it’s a new world and new experience. We’re taking it in our stride and having a great time doing it.”

Becoming a dad certainly didn’t appear to hamper Dingle on the ice as he put in a great performance, alongside many others, in the unfortunate defeat to Nottingham.

“I tried to contribute one way or another,” he said. “I just wanted to bring energy, intensity and lead by example.

“We weren’t thrilled with the end result, but it showed a lot of character.

“Hats off to their goalie in the second period - we played pretty well and he made some huge saves - but that’s a good team and there’s a possibility we could meet them if we want to do something special in play-offs this year.

“We just need to make sure we tighten up, make better decisions and work on those positioning strategies.”

Dingle would love to cap his son’s arrival with a play-off championship win.

“This is a unique set up for play-offs that I’ve never played in,” he said.

“I’ve always had in the back of the mind that you get better as a team throughout the season.

“It doesn’t matter if you win the first 20 games, it depends at the end of the season.

“In this league that matters for one of the three trophies, but here we are, we’ve made the play-offs, and anything can happen from here.

“I like our chances. I like how the boys are playing and that we’re not satisfied with an overtime loss against the Nottingham Panthers. I like that we are hungry for more.”