Fife Flyers netminder Andy Iles revealed that his grandparents were the inspiration behind his shut-out performance in the 2-0 win over Coventry Blaze on Saturday.
George and Kay Ross flew in from New York and were in the stands at Fife Ice Arena to watch their grandson in action in the club’s opening Elite League fixture of the season.
And he certainly didn’t let them down with an outstanding man of the match performance, saving all 43 shots to help his short-handed team claim a huge two points.
“I had my grandparents in town which means the world to me,” Iles told the Press.
“I told them coming in that it was a little bit of an older barn and not what they’re used to, and when I spoke to them after the game they said the fans were electric.
“It was fun for them hearing the crowd chanting my name. This is an awesome place to play.”
Iles’ affection for his grandparents was obvious as he spoke warmly about the influence they have had on his life and career.
“I owe the world to them so the shut-out was definitely for them,” he said.
“They’ve been so supportive. They’re across the world right now watching me play hockey and they’ve done so much for me since I was a little kid.
“They’ve taken me to hotels, paid hockey fees, paid for trips, they’ve supported me every step of the way. Over my college career they never missed a home game.
“I’m so grateftul that they’re here able to watch me, and the support they give me and the impact they’ve had on my career is just immense.
“It means the world to me and I love them dearly.”
The shut-out was a complete contrast for Iles following the previous week’s defeat in Dundee that saw the Fife netminder concede seven times in under two periods before being replaced by Jordan Marr.
“That’s part of being a goalie,” he said. “Some nights can go well for you, and some nights don’t.
“Response is huge. Everyone is going to have difficult nights. I would’ve liked to be a lot better than I was last weekend, I was disappointed in myself.
“But there isn’t a good athlete out there who hasn’t had a tough night.
“The important thing is bouncing back and how you handle adversity.
“Personally it was nice to get a little bit of a bounceback performance, but across the board, as a team, that was a bounceback performance.
“It won’t be the last time we play short-handed this year and coming in against a good team, laying it on the line and getting a result, that’s going to give us confidence down the road when we run into that same situation again.”
Iles left the ice on Saturday night to the sound of fans singing his name, and he admitted that he has been blown away by the passion of Fife crowd.
“It’s huge and we feed off it,” he said. “Even when we go on the road around Scotland the support we get just makes it so fun to play for this organisation.
“I’m really enjoying myself and hope the fans can stay on our side and enjoy the process with us and see where this season takes us.”