He happily posed for photos with fans as he sat in the ice rink last night, but Kyle Haines is not yet a Fife Flyer.
The club’s bid to bring back its hugely popular former captain is still officially ‘‘in talks.’’
But it’s clear the outcome the team, the coach, and the fans want.
Haines left Flyers in the summer to pursue the next chapter in his career, signing for French club Chamonix-Morzine.
But things clearly didn’t work out – he made just seven appearances.
The French club issued a statement last week saying he had ‘‘thrown in the towel’’ – ‘‘jette l’eponge’’ – following an offer to play in another league.
That club is clearly Flyers who desperately need a left-shooting defenceman with two imports out injured and one, Kyle Follmer, being written off after he couldn’t get a visa to play in the UK.
After being stung by the failure to complete the paper trail in that deal before making an announcement, the club has stuck rigidly to its stance that it is in talks with Haines but ‘‘no formal agreement is in place yet.’’
That, despite Haines being in the rink to see Flyers’ 7-0 demolition of Manchester Storm on Saturday, and his goalscoring theme tune booming out the PA at the close of the game.
Sources say it’s a done deal between the parties – it’s now a question of completing the paperwork before the club will move to confirm the worst kept secret in hockey.
Todd Dutiaume, head coach, spoke openly of admiration of the player in his post-game media interviews last night.
‘‘It’s no secret that, over the years, he is one of my favourite hockey players ever to wear a Fife jersey.’’ he said.
‘‘If we get him in a Fife jersey again we will be much better. He’s a wonderful guy – he’d bring a lot to the club.’’
Haines joined Flyers from ECHL outfit Bakersfield Condos, in 2013/14, and went on to become a hugely influential defenceman.
Flyers travel to the Midlands today to take on Coventry Blaze.
They then face a double header against struggling Braehead Clan next weekend – away on Saturday, home on Sunday – which fans hoope will mark the debut, and return of Haines.