FIFE Flyers are keeping things in the family after snapping up a pair of Canadian brothers.
Forward Jason Pitton (26) was this week confirmed as Flyers latest summer signing, joining younger brother, netminder Byran (24), at the Kirkcaldy club.
Both Pitton brothers were drafted by NHL teams earlier in their careers, with Jason an eighth round pick of the New York Islanders in 2004.
Jason has amassed almost 300 senior appearances in North America, splitting his time between the East Coast and American Hockey Leagues.
He spent last season with Asagio in Italy, totalling seven goals, 14 assists and 86 penalty minutes in a 32-game season.
Flyers player-coach Todd Dutiaume believes the club has made another astute signing.
“Jason comes with a lot of pro experience in North America,” he said. “He brings us a mix of grit, size and goal-scoring punch.
“He’ll be an excellent addition to our squad.”
The Pittons will be the first brothers from overseas to play in Fife since Mark and Todd Dutiaume played together in the BNL in season 2001-02.
Dutiaume explained: “It was something the boys said they wanted to do this year, and I relayed to them a couple of the experiences I had playing alongside Mark.
“It’s not very often that you get to play pro hockey with your brother, but for us it’s not just two brothers, it’s two quality players.”
With the Pitton brothers, and university mates Derek Keller and Jeff Caister also on board, Dutiuame hopes to have created a harmonious dressing room.
“That’s an important part of our hockey club,” he said. “It’s always good to have people around you who you know and who can support you.
“All the guys we’ve brought in are natural leaders - most of them have worn A’s and C’s in the past - and know what it takes to get the best out of guys.
“We have a good mix on paper and I’m sure we’ll be a much more rounded squad than last season.”
Dutiaume revealed that the club’s ninth and final import signing - a forward - will be confirmed in the next few days.
While up and coming young Kirkcaldy-born prospect Josh Scoon has also signed on for a second season at Elite League level.
“Josh has made a big effort over the summer,” Dutiaume said. “He looks a bit bigger and stronger, and he’s a very coachable player.
“If Josh puts in the hard work in training I’m sure we’ll see him feature more in games this season.”
Flyers assistant-coach Danny Stewart arrived in town last week and he, along with Dutiaume, have been putting the local players through their paces with preseason training sessions at Fife Ice Arena.
The import signings are due to arrive throughout next week in the build-up to next weekend’s season opener - the Scottish Autumn Cup - being staged at the Kirkcaldy rink.
“The guys have been on the ice every day, taking advantage of the ice time the rink has allocated us,” Dutiaume said.
“We’ll be a lot more prepared for the start than we were last season, when we went into the exhibition games against Dundee with three import forwards, a back-up goalie and a team straight out of the SNL.
“The guys are showing signs of rust but they are not the same three steps behind they were this time last year.
“They are working hard - that’s a really big positive - and having nine imports from the start is a luxury we didn’t have at any point last year.”