FIFE Flyers have this week moved to fill the vacant assistant-coach position.
Club captain Danny Stewart has been promoted to the role previously held by former player Matt Siddall, who left for Croatia at the end of last year.
Stewart won coach of the year last season while in charge of the now defunct Newcastle Vipers, and the 32-year-old is looking forward to taking on the extra responsibilities.
“Ever since Siddall’s departure I’ve been helping out a little bit in the coaching side of things,” he said. “In our situation we need all hands on deck for the play-off run so I’m excited to take this on.
“At the start of the season there was a lot of instructing going on, but we’ve come a long way, now there’s a lot more coaching.”
Coach Todd Dutiaume expressed his delight in having a new number two in place, adding: “He’s a natural fit. He isn’t afraid to voice his opinion and he’s very knowledgeable about the game.
“He knows how I want the bench to run and follows those orders, but I also trust him to make smart calls or adjustments for the good of the team.”
Dutiaume has asked Dan Ceman – who had a season-and-a-half in charge of Dundee Stars – to step forward as new club captain.
“Ceman has a natural head for leadership and a decent relationship with referees around the league,” he said. “Since he came in he’s gained the guys respect, and he’s not afraid to say something when it needs to be said.
“These guys are natural fits for these roles, which is good, rather than upsetting the team dynamics when we’re happy with them right now.”
Flyers have a must-win trip to Dundee Stars on Sunday sandwiched between home games against Belfast Giants on Saturday and Braehead Clan on Tuesday.
Dutiaume explained: “If we’re going to make a legitimate run at the play-offs we have to think we can get two points every night.
“If we think defeatist we will wallow where we are.”
And assistant-coach Stewart is in no doubt that Flyers can begin their three-game run with a win over league leaders Belfast.
“Our results last week were a massive confidence boost,” he said. “Now when we play teams like Belfast we know we can pull it off if we play to our potential.”
Defenceman Matt Cohen will be monitored day-to-day as he continues his comeback from injury, while Willie Nicolson remains sidelined with a dislocated shoulder.