Fife Flyers new signing Scott Aarssen has spoken of his relief as he finally arrived in Kirkcaldy just in time for the new ice hockey season starting on Saturday.
Aarssen was one of several North American players hit by visa delays this summer, but after missing the club’s entire preseason programme, the paperwork finally arrived at the weekend.
The defenceman hopped on a plane, along with his family, and made it to Fife Ice Arena on Monday in time to take in his first training session with his new team mates.
Giving his first interview since his arrival, Aarssen told the Press: “I thought I’d make it in for the start of preseason, but as it kept getting delayed, I kept getting more frustrated.
“I was a little nervous after the past weekend and I still didn’t have anything.
“Luckily the passports and visas just showed up at the door out of nowhere and I got here on Monday, which means I’ll get a full week of practice in before the upcoming weekend.
“You always want to get in for preseason camp to meet the guys, get used to your team mates, get back on the ice, and get the hands and feet back.
“I’m a bit behind compared to everyone else, but I’m going to work hard this week and do everything I can to get ready, that’s all I can do.”
Aarssen has been keeping himself in shape and hopes to be able to hit the ground running when his former club, Glasgow Clan, provide the opposition for the first competitive game of the season on Saturday.
“It’s a big rivalry game and it’s going to be exciting,” he said. “It will be highly contested and heated.
“That’s what you want – get right into it in the first game and get the blood flowing.
“It’s nice we’re at home too so we’ll get the crowd behind us and it’s sure be a great atmosphere.”
Having sampled the rivalry on the Clan side of the fence, Aarssen is looking forward to his first experience of the game as a Fifer.
“It was always a battle playing against Flyers, and a hostile environment too,” he said.
“I wouldn’t say I enjoyed coming here as a Clan player, you just make it through the game and take it as it is.
“It’s going to be exciting being on other side now, with the crowd behind you.
“They’ve always been crazy games which are built up a little more than the other games.
“It’s good that can have a series like that, where there’s a little bit added pressure, because that’s where we like to thrive.
“You want to give the fans something extra to cheer about and some bragging rights.”
Aarssen arrives after spending last season in the pressure-cooker environment of the Sheffield Steelers camp.
“Expectations are high there,” he said. “Things maybe didn’t work out as people hoped, but we battled through a lot of injuries and adversity.
“You’re under a microscope there, it’s a high pressure environment, but I knew that going in. “It was a good year for me to sharpen up different parts of my game.
“The expectations in Fife are maybe not as high as Sheffield, but after what Flyers did last year, there’s going to be higher expectation and that’s what everyone in this room wants as well.
“Everyone starts at zero and we’ll be doing everything we can to finish top of the table at the end of the year.”