TIM Maxwell has only played two games for his new club, but has already seen enough to boldly predict that Fife Flyers will qualify for the Elite League play-offs.
The long-awaited new defenceman made his home debut in the 2-1 win over Dundee Stars on Tuesday night after completing his first start for the club in the Boxing Day defeat in Cardiff.
Despite the victory, Flyers are still bottom of the Elite League table and currently sit eight points behind Hull Stingrays, who occupy the final play-off position, but Maxwell is convinced his new team mates can make up the lost ground.
“I saw the team was bottom of the table but it did not put me off coming here - absolutely not,” Maxwell told SportsPress.
“I wanted somewhere to play, and it was a great opportunity to come over and help this team out.
“We’re making play-offs. There’s no reason why we can’t beat every team in this league.”
Maxwell, who hails from Sherwood Park, Alberta, in Canada, started skating aged three and worked his way up through minor, junior and college hockey before signing for Utah Grizzlies in the East Coast Hockey League.
After two seasons in the ECHL, he moved to Norway last year, spending a season with Valerenga in Oslo. However, he found himself without a club this season, until Todd Dutiaume got in touch to offer him a spot at the UK’s oldest surviving hockey club.
“I wasn’t really going anywhere in the ECHL, and wasn’t getting called up to the American Hockey League, so I decided to take my chances to come over to Europe,” he said.
“It’s a blast playing over here – I like the bigger ice, there’s a lot more room to skate, and the people in Scotland are very welcoming and polite.
“I had offers to come to the Elite League at the start of last season, but it didn’t really work out.
“I’m excited to be here now – it will be good finishing the season here.”
Maxwell’s home debut co-incided with Flyers biggest crowd of the season, and he was delighted to play his part in a crucial victory over Dundee.
“I love playing in front of a big crowd that’s really energised and ready to go,” he said.
“After coming off the loss in Cardiff it was a must win game for sure. Whenever you have games back to back, you’ve got to at least have a split if you lose the first one, by winning the second.
“Everybody played well, winning battles in the defensive zone, along the walls, getting pucks out, and getting pucks in.
“Zemlak played amazing for us as well. We wouldn’t have won without him.”
With injuries to Matt Cohen and Danny Stewart ruling them out, Maxwell was the only import D-man on the ice against Stars, but he produced an assured performance alongside the British contingent.
“We all worked well together,” he said. “We’ve only got five D-men rolling right now, and I’m still getting a feel for everyone, so it’s only up from here.
“It’s too bad that some of the guys are injured, and it will be good to get them back in the line-up, but we’ve just got to keep ploughing along.
“We need to go out and win these upcoming games against teams that are just ahead of us and get up until the spot for play-offs.
“Every game from here on out is a four point game.”
Despite their inexperience at Elite League level, Maxwell believes Flyers home grown players have what it takes to be a success at the top level.
“They’re all doing great,” he said. “If the skill is not there then it all comes down to hard work.
“That will beat skill any day of the week, and that’s what I’ve seen from the guys at this club.”