FIFE Flyers are making strides towards becoming a more professional Elite League outfit.
That was the message from player-coach Todd Dutiaume (pictured) this week, as he moved to assure fans over the work going on behind the scenes.
Flyers finished bottom of the Elite League table last season as the club struggled to adjust to top flight hockey, both on and off the ice.
However, Dutiaume is encouraged by the preparations currently being carried out ahead of the club’s second season in the EIite League.
“There’s a lot of organisation going on behind the scenes that people are not seeing,” Dutiaume told the Press.
“The directors are working really hard to make sure we start the season without any hitches.
“It’s certainly looking promising - and hopefully we can keep the momentum going right up until start of the season.
“We’ve already had a couple of meetings between everyone to discuss not just the playing side, but all the issues that needed addressed from last year.
“There’s a real desire on the part of the owners to compete next season and be a more professional organisation.
“There’s also a fair bit of work going on at the rink to improve the facilities.
“There’s a lot better communication now and things are running a lot smoother. Danny Stewart and I are really upbeat about things.”
As revealed in last week’s Press, Flyers are closing in on a double signing – a D-man and forward from North America.
Both are in advanced talks with the club, but Dutiaume stressed that there are plenty others on his radar.
“We’re constantly identifying guys we’d like to talk to,” he said. “Last year we were caught short on time so it was just a case of identifying guys and signing them.
“This year we’ve got time on our side so we’re getting three or four references for every player we speak to - and that is quite time-consuming.
“We’re also making sure every player knows that they are coming here to be a winner. Last season was a very difficult learning curve, but this time we’ll be looking to come out the blocks running.
“We’ll be going with close to a full quota of imports right off the bat.”
Dutiaume confirmed that he has held talks with most of last season’s imports, but stressed that changes will be made.
“We’ve kept in touch with all our imports from last season and we’ve made our position known to them all,” he said.
“There’s a couple we’d like back for certain, but everybody is hedging their bets.
“They will be looking to see what kind of team we’re building, but that could be too little too late as far as myself and Danny are concerned. We could already have guys in place.”
One player Flyers fans would dearly love to return is netminder Garrett Zemlak - voted the EIHL’s fans favourite last season.
Dutiaume said: “We had discussions with Garrett at the end of last season and they’ve been left at that.
“At this moment in time, we’re pursuing a number of goal-tending interests.
“There’s a lot of guys in the market and we’ll make the right choice for our club.”
Meanwhile, Flyers directors are currently finalising season ticket prices for next season, and hope to release the information to fans following an EIHL fixtures meeting next week.