Fife Flyers forwards will be ‘strongest group’ yet in EIHL

Jeff Hutchins, Fife Flyers Gardiner Conference Champions 2017-18. Pic: Steve Gunn
Jeff Hutchins, Fife Flyers Gardiner Conference Champions 2017-18. Pic: Steve Gunn

Fife Flyers are in full countdown mode to the new ice hockey season.

A summer of work behind the scenes is now coming to fruition with a glut of singing announcements – and there are more to come.

The arrival of Scott Aarssen from Sheffield Steelers was the first hint of a a new-look defensive unit being put in front of returning, all-star netminder, Shane Owen.

The former Braehead player was one of two highly experienced signings unveiled last week – the other being Paul Crowder from Cardiff Devils – and they are both set to play leading roles in the team.

Jeff Hutchins, assistant coach, said: “We tried really hard to get Scott last year but he couldn’t turn down the offer he got from Sheffield.

“His motivation for coming here this season is he fell down to a fourth or fifth slot in defence.

“In Fife, he will be one of our top three defencmen, with more responsibility.’’

Aarssen, like Crowder, is also a known quantity to Flyers’ coach team after watching him play in oppposition – and liking what they saw.

“He has a strong resume and has put up good numbers at every level throughout his career,” added Hutchins.

“It was important we put someone into the role once filled by Shayne Stockton, who did a great job for us but has now decided to move on.

‘“We needed a right-handed centre and, with Paul in place, we’re now pretty strong up the middle.’’

And with Evan Bloodoff, Carlo Finucci, Chase Schaber and Dannick Gauthier already confirmed as returning for 2018-19, Hutchins has high hopes for the coming season.

“The forwards are looking good,” he said.

“When you look at it on paper, I would contend it is the strongest group of forwards we have brought to Kirkcaldy in the EIHL years.’’

With more players to be unveiled, the whole picture should be public in the next few weeks.

The club aims to have everyone in and settled in time for the pre-season 4Nations Compeition, which will give Fife Flyers their most extensive prep time to date – with games against Danish, German and Canadian opposition – ahead of their first competitive game against Glasgow Clan on September 8.

“We are on target and there is a lot going on behind the scenes,’’ said Hutchins.

“We are still looking for a couple of defencemen but there are offers out to some guys, and we are still on contact with players from last season.

“In that respect, we are no different to any other organisation in the league.”