How Hearts move hit plans for ice hockey festival weekend

Scott Neil, Edinburgh Capitals GM (Pic: Jane Barlow)
Scott Neil, Edinburgh Capitals GM (Pic: Jane Barlow)

Ice hockey’s Scottish Elite Cup has been hailed a success.

The four-team event was staged at Murrayfield for the first time at the weekend, with the 2018 event scheduled for Kirkcaldy before then going on to Braehead and Dundee.

The organisers believe it has the potential to grow – and revealed that their plans to make it a mini finals weekend were thwarted after Hearts’ decision to swsitch a mnatch from Tynecastle to next-door Murrayfield Stadium.

Scott Neil, Edinburgh Capitals’ GM, said the off-ice programme was all in hand until the SPL club changed its venue.

He said: ‘‘We expected to do better in terms of numbers, but logistically, there were a lot of issues in the background that prevented us from making it better.

“We had a fanzone planned in the SRU compound area around the stadium, drink and food outlets, interactive games and merchandise stalls.

“We were really trying to make it a mini Nottingham finals weekend and wanted to deliver that for the fans to start the season.

“But Hearts moving their game to the stadium created huge problems and took away that opportunity to make it a real fan festival weekend.

“We’ve got the tournament up and running and it’s something I think will go from strength to strength and that final was a great end to it.”

The cup moves to Fife next year with each club getting the chance to host it going forward.

Neil believes the Kirkcaldy rink will be a great venue for the 2018 event and moving forward reckons it will be a competition that can capture the imagination of the fans.

He added: “Fife will be a great venue for it next year and it’s another step, taking it to another arena. What we want to try and create is a Scottish finals weekend where fans can support the sport.

“If that momentum can be taken forward, I think it will be a really good tournament the fans will buy into and we were lucky we got such an entertaining game to finish off this year’s competition.

“From an organisational point of view, I think the clubs will perhaps have to work closer together on various things.

“We’ve invested in a lot of stuff that can generate more going forward. There’s the nice new trophy, which is in Braehead’s possession.

“It’s a statement the four clubs want to create a unique event every year and I think it will go from strength to strength.”