Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume has revealed that he wants to retain ALL of his British players next season
Flyers had eight Kirkcaldy-born Brits on their roster last season - Tommy Muir, Kyle Horne, Euan Forsyth, Chris Wands, Stephen Gunn, Jamie Wilson, Josh Scoon and Allan Anderson - as well as Edinburgh-born netminder Blair Daly.
Dutiaume has spoken to each of them since the end of the season and made it clear that he wants them all to re-sign for season 2014-15, although he was speaking prior to the announcement that import numbers in the Elite League are set to increase from next season.
“The meetings were very positive,” Dutiuame said. “A few of the guys really came into their own last season and, after being thrown into the deep end in year one, they are now performing like legitimate Elite League players.
“Getting to the play-off finals in Nottingham was a valuable experience for them and it gave them a taste of what can be accomplished if they can bring that consistency each and every night.
“These local guys are one of the main reasons the team is in the town and we are keen to keep their services.”
Despite using the likes of Wands, Forsyth, Scoon and Anderson more sparingly as the season wore on, Dutiaume is confident that he can hold onto their services.
“We ran into a hot spell in the second half of the season so we rarely made any changes,” he said.
“Some of the guys didn’t get on the ice very often and they were definitely down about it - but they understand hockey.
“They know the effort and commitment it takes to get into our line-up.
“The pressure is on to become better players - that’s for them to work on. The door is open for next season.”
Dutiaume has also promised to work closely with junior development next season to help bring through thenext generation of local talent.
“There’s a few names from junior development starting to pop up on our radar,” Dutiaume said.
“It’s a huge jump from juniors to Elite but we’ll need these kids in the future once our current Brits retire or leave the game.
“After reaching Nottingham expectations will be high next season so it’s very difficult to throw in a 16-year-old when the stakes are so high.
“However, it’s important we find a way to develop these kids - that’s up to me to find the right balance.
“We’re keen to work with junior development, both to get their numbers up and to produce Elite League standard players.”
Dutiaume confirmed that talks are on-going with last season’s import players, and that as yet, none have ruled out a return.
“We are hoping to make signing announcements as soon as possible,” Dutiaume added.