Canadian defenceman Kyle Haines is the latest import from last season’s side to sign on for another year at Fife Flyers.
Haines (26) was a late addition to the roster last season, joining in November, scoring 11 goals and 25 assists in 45 appearances as Flyers made it all the way to the play-off finals weekend in Nottingham.
Haines had been considering his options, with a move to a European league a possibility, but Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume is delighted that the former AHLer has decided to stay in Kirkcaldy.
“We let Kyle go away, compose his thoughts and see how he enjoyed Europe before coming back to us,” he told the Press.
“We gave him a month’s timeline and we were delighted when he made his mind up that he wanted to come back to Fife.
“He was a great all-round defenceman for us - one of the catalysts that turned the season around. It was shortly after he came in that we picked up.
“His steady and consistent performances were one of the big reasons why we were successful in the second half of the season.
“He also brings some offensive flair to the position, and scored some big goals for us. I think he enjoyed being used in all situations, whereas maybe before he was a bit of a role player.
“He got great ice time here - same as all our imports do - and he’s in great shape, so he absorbed it really well.
“He’s exactly the type of person, on and off the ice, that we want to attract to Fife.”
Haines is the fourth import from last season’s team to commit next season, and more are expected to follow.
“Last year’s success has helped us when it comes to re-signing guys,” Dutiaume said.
“They see the ambition of the team and that, over three years, we’ve qualified for the play-offs twice and reached finals weekend once.
“It will be tough but we want to improve on that next season, and guys recognise that we don’t want to just make up the numbers.
“If players feel wanted and see that the club’s ambitions match theirs, then they see that the grass maybe isn’t greener elsewhere.
“I’m one of the old timers and that’s how it used to be in my era.
“Players came to Fife and stayed because it was a solid organisation and good place to play hockey - players were not always looking for the next best thing.
“This was always a club that takes care of its players and we’re getting back to that now.
“We’d like to win some silverware to go with that but we’re building the foundations and hopefully it pays off.”
Dutiaume confirmed that talks are on-going with members of last season’s roster, but that there will be changes.
“We’re not just doing things one player at a time - we’re talking to all the guys at various times during the week and month,” he said.
“We’re also being offered some great players from agents so there will certainly be a couple of upgrades.
“The number of new faces is flexible. That could change depending on what happens, but if I get my way, it will only be a handful.”