Fife Flyers head to festival city for exhibition game

Fife Flyers celebrating a goal against Belfast (Pic: Steve Gunn)
Fife Flyers celebrating a goal against Belfast (Pic: Steve Gunn)

The Edinburgh Festival may be taking its final bow today, but for ice hockey fans there is only one destination - Murrayfield Ice Rink.

The stage is set for a pre-season derby which should add some drama even in a city that has hosted some 3000 shows in a packed, vibrant month.

Edinburgh Capitals and Fife Flyers are the oldest of enemies - the single most enduring derby in British ice hockey, and one which still packs a punch and brings heat to one of the coldest rinks on the circuit.

It’s also a clash of the new with both benches undergoing major changes over the summer.

Caps have changed their coach and their philosophy with Riley Emmerson bringing in a more traditional North American approach and also creating a buzz of excitement among the city’s fanbase across the summer.

His full squad has yet to assemble in town - he was minus five imports in the 9-2 loss to Dundee Stars last week, and will almost certainly be short handed tonight.

But it’s still an opportunity for two conference rivals to size each other up, and get an insight into the challenge that may lie ahead.

Todd Dutiaume, head coach at Fife Flyers, is keen to run the rule over Emmerson’s new-look, bigger-sized squad as well as icing his full bench.

Speaking to Flyers TV after last night’s 4-4 tie with Belfast Giants, he said: ‘‘Caps have a good squad this season so we want to get a good look at them - they’re in our conference so success against them is vital.

‘‘Some of the guys didn’t get as much ice time as perhaps I’d hoped last night. They are all fighting for their spots so we will roll with four lines and give everyone a shot.’’

Both coaches would happily take a win, but the real focus is on the performance and how the team is taking shape - the ‘‘compete factor’’ as Dutiaume put it last night.

‘‘We were up. We were down and we got back up,’’ he said. ‘‘The initial impressions are we have a young team which is hungry, and it’s up to myself and Danny to nurture it. ‘We got off to a great start and we were very pleased with what we saw out on the ice.’’

>> Edinburgh Capitals v Fife Flyers, Murrayfield Ice Rink, face-off 5.,30 p.m.

Prices - £17 adult, £12 Concession, £8 child

>> Follow @fifefreepressed on Twitter for live updates from the game.