Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume is convinced that new signing Ryan Dingle will be a hit in Kirkcaldy after receiving a glowing reference from Fife legend Mark Morrison.
USA national Dingle was confirmed as Flyers first new summer arrival this week, joining from Italian side Cortina, where he averaged 1.09 points per game over the last four years.
The 31-year-old centreman played under Morrison while at East Coast Hockey League club Victoria Salmon Kings in season 2010-11, and left a positive impression.
“What he’s accomplished over the last couple of seasons and throughout his career was an initial attraction to us,” Dutiaume told the Press.
“We like the fact that he’s shown loyalty to a club, and certainly the references we got for him - including one from my former boss - were glowing.
“By all accounts we have a fantastic player on the ice and a good guy in the dressing room.
“His numbers speak for themselves but he’s also hard-working and a great leader.
“He’s excited by the prospect and looking forward to getting season under way. His enthusiasm is contagious.”
Before his move to Italy, Dingle racked up almost 150 appearances in the highly-regarded American Hockey League.
This impressive pedigree meant Flyers had competition for his signature from clubs across Europe and North America.
Dutiaume believes that it is a sign of the club’s progression that Dingle decided upon a move to Fife.
“Any time you go after a quality player like Ryan there’s always going to be interest form number of clubs and leagues,” Dutiaume said.
“But we’ve built this club up over the last four years and all of our players have been treated fairly and respectfully.
“We’ve created an environment which is enjoyable to play in.
“We’ve had a number of returning imports which shows that guys are well taken care of.
“But we also rely on guys who move away to spread the good word.
“We’ve come a long way and now it’s really paid off.
“It’s also good to see that we have backing from our owners.
“When we want a guy with a resume like Ryan’s, we’re not only firmly in the fight for these guys but we’re also able to get them.”
Dutiaume meanwhile stressed that Flyers did all they could to try to keep GB junior netminder Renny Marr at the club.
The 17-year-old from Lochgelly signed for Coventry Blaze last week leaving Dutiaume “extremely disappointed”,
He added: “Renny trained with us every single session that he was available for.
“We had a development plan in place for him.
“He definitely would’ve got time up with us this year as his development progressed.
“But we wouldn’t want a young U20 sitting on our bench all season so he would’ve had games in the junior development, there’s also talk of an U20 league coming in.
“He would’ve also had the Kestrels as well as experience with us.
“We wanted him here - but he made a decision that he wanted to go somewhere else.
“It’s extremely disappointing especially when we’ve invested so much time with him.
“But if a person doesn’t want to be with us we’re not going to try to force him to be here.
“We had high hopes for him, but sometimes other teams promise the moon.”
Dutiaume has not given up hope of seeing Marr in a Flyers jersey in the future.
He added: “We have no ill-will towards the kid. We hope he does good and I’ll be following his career with interest.
“The kid has talent and we were proud of him when he got into GB squad - there’s no doubt some of that success was a result of training with Flyers.
“Our goal here is always to bring local kids up to train with us, but they have to show hard work and desire.
“Through talking to Steven Lynch and junior development, there are a number of guys to keep our eye on.”