Zemlak happy with role as fans favourite

KIRKCALDY;'FIFE FLYERS V Dundee'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON

KIRKCALDY;'FIFE FLYERS V Dundee'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON

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FIFE Flyers netminder Garrett Zemlak is in no hurry to become part of the recent player exodus ... not while he’s enjoying life as the fans’ favourite.

Following the recent departures of Mike Hamilton, Matt Siddall and Iain Bowie, there are fears that the popular goalie could be next to leave the Elite League’s bottom club.

But Zemlak insists that he has had no offers to move elsewhere, and until he does, his only focus is on continuing to entertain his adoring Fife fans.

“I’m sure people are talking about me leaving and getting opportunities to play elsewhere, but right now I’m a Fife Flyer, and I’ll continue to play every game like I have been,” he told SportsPress.

“We’ll see how the rest of the year goes, but as far as offers on table are concerned, there’s nothing in the mix right now.

“I’ve always been a really competitive and emotional goalie, and the fans here have taken a liking to that, which I really appreciate. I’ll do whatever I can to keep entertaining them.”

Zemlak urged Flyers followers not to be over critical of the players who have left the club, insisting that it is part of the modern game.

“People might be giving Sidds and Hammy a hard time because they think they deserted the team – but it’s not like that,” he explained.

Team first

“Those boys are Canadian hockey players – team first guys. Obviously we weren’t winning games, but they were having a good time, and really appreciated the following they had.

“It’s just how pro hockey is sometimes, and it’s how I am right now, but there’s nothing in the mix for me to leave, so I just want to keep playing well for Fife.

“There’s not many other leagues where you get the chance to play every single night, which I have a chance to do here.

“You may get losses but if I keep my save percentage up, it looks good over 60 games and people will notice that.

“This is a good starter league in Europe and there are definitely some big leagues I think I’m qualified to play in.”

Zemlak believes Flyers could have avoided the mid-season upheaval had they been better prepared for their debut season in the Elite League.

“If some things were maybe sorted out earlier in the year, this may have not happened,” he said.

“But it’s the club’s first year in the league, and we started off really slow because we maybe under-estimated what this league was going to be.

“It comes with the territory – if you’re losing games, you might lose some guys. It happens in every league.

“There was definitely some unsettling things at the start, but there were positives with the negatives.

“It’s just something this organisation is going to have to learn from and be ready right away next time. The only way is up from here.”

Zemlak took heart from the team’s performance against Sheffield on Saturday, and believes the target of making the play-offs is not out of reach.

“We’ve been going through a tough time, but they boys showed a lot of heart on Saturday,” he said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get the win, but their goalie played really well.

“We’ll see how we adjust when the new guys come in, but it’s no secret that it will be a long hard road for the rest of this year. The way this league works, if you have a four point weekend, and the team you’re chasing doesn’t, you’re right in the mix again.”