A final thank you as Edinburgh Capitals sign off

Scott Neil, Edinburgh Capitals
Scott Neil, Edinburgh Capitals

Edinburgh Capitals’ demise has been confirmed in a statement of farewell from its GM, Scott Neil.

Signing with off with a thank you all who have backed the club over 20 years, he said there would be ”no knee jerk reactions or bad decisions made to try and secure ice elsewhere to continue playing.’’

End of the road derby games with Fife Flyers (Pic: FFP)

End of the road derby games with Fife Flyers (Pic: FFP)

It comes after Caps lost the contract to play out of Murrayfield Ice Rink – and Murrayfield Racers, who replaced them, failed to secure a place in the Elite League, meaning Scotland’s premier city will have no top flight ice hockey for season 2018-19.

Neil was part of Racers’ glory days during the Heineken era before going on to enjoy great success with Sheffield Steelers.

He took Caps into the Elite League where they have consistently struggled to be competitive, and last season’s collapse, on and off the ice, proved to be the end of the road.

The liquidation of Capitals Hockey Limited at the end of 2017 was a turning point, and a new management structure unveiled towards the end of the season had no time to implement its plans as the rink opted to hand the ice time contract to a new consortium keen to revive the Racers.

Old time hockey: Fife Flyers v Murrayfield Racers, 1989 - pictured are Rick Fera, Tony Hand and Scott Neil (Racers) and David Smith (Pic: Bill Dickman)

Old time hockey: Fife Flyers v Murrayfield Racers, 1989 - pictured are Rick Fera, Tony Hand and Scott Neil (Racers) and David Smith (Pic: Bill Dickman)

This week, volunteers helped clear Capitals’ property from the rink – a sad moment for a club that had battled against the odds to keep the sport alive at the highest level.

Neil’s statement paid tribute to all who have been part of their journey.

He said: “We all fought so hard to develop and maintain the best standard of ice hockey possible, and whilst it would have been easy to drop and play at a lower level, it was never something I would entertain.

“Edinburgh should be an Elite League city, and I am bitterly disappointed that the new Edinburgh Capitals board was not given the opportunity to try and move the club forward.’’

He accepted mistakes had been made, particularly last season, but said they were “honest mistakes made with the intention to recruit a squad capable of winning at least the Gardiner conference.”

“We all thought the change in recruitment direction this season would have led to more on ice success, but it just did not work out that way.

“It was always going to be a risk but at the time it was one worth taking to try and break the mould of consistently bad seasons,’’ he said.

The GM said it was ”heartbreaking” to see Caps’ bid turned down.

It was, he said “the best business plan, with the best people and the highest committed funding ever’’ in a bid to “back an underdog club and challenge in the EIHL once again.’’

He added: “Our robust and sensible three-year business plan would have provided an opportunity and a chance for the team to flourish.’’

Neil said the outcome had led to “innocent victims’’ adding: “George Ferdinando signed his name to a new company in November to make sure the Capitals kept playing on the ice.

“A tremendous amount of work was done in a short space of time to secure the continuation of games, and a lot was being done behind the scenes to ensure a more prosperous and stable future for the Capitals going forward.

“George has been left holding the baby to an extent and I hope others will help and continue to support the Capitals to fulfil ongoing obligations with the dream that we can once again lace up the boots in Edinburgh Capitals colours.

“There will be no knee jerk reactions or bad decisions made to try and secure ice elsewhere to continue playing. There will be a desire to work in the background to revive the Capitals fortunes going forward.’’

His statement concluded: “It’s been an amazing journey and I sincerely hope that this isn’t game over.

“I want to express my sincerest gratitude for all the support that I have been given over the last 20 years. Without you, the fans, volunteers, players, staff, and sponsors none of this would have been possible at all.’’