Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume has revealed the new training regime that he hopes will push the club towards success this season.
For the first time in the Elite League, Flyers players are now on the ice twice a day during the week while an improved off-ice programme will also see the players in the gym more regularly.
The full-time imports report to the rink each morning to work specifically on special teams, and they are then joined by the Brits for the evening full team session.
A new yoga class has also been introduced and Dutiaume hopes the team will see the benefit.
“We recognised the need to take our fitness to another level,” Dutiaume told the Press.
“It’s something we discussed putting in place in the past and over the course of the summer we got it set-up so it would be seamless for the start of the year, rather than trying to implement in January, which just doesn’t work.
“This is what hockey teams are supposed to be doing. It gets the guys on a proper schedule, rather than laying around all day waiting for training, and we’re going to see a positive response from it.
“We’re certainly going to give ourselves every chance to have a successful season.”
Dutiaume revealed that Flyers have also taken their physiotherapy department to another level this season.
“We discussed with the doctors over the summer that rather than be a reactive service we want to be proactive,” he said.
“These guys are a big investment and we want to keep them healthy and on the ice.
“We’re hoping these guys will be fighting fit and ready to go for the entire season.”
Dutiaume reflected on a mixed opening weekend as Flyers followed a stunning 6-0 win over Coventry on Saturday with a 4-1 defeat in the return fixture south of the border on Sunday.
“In all the years we’ve started against Coventry home and away, we haven’t won a game,” Dutiaume said.
“To win in such emphatic fashion on Saturday was really rewarding because it was something we strived for.
“It was two big league points, especially since we don’t have another league game until Cardiff at the end of the month.
“If you lose your first two games then you’re always feeling like you have to play catch-up.
“We discussed with the guys that it was going to be a different game in Coventry on Sunday.
“For the first 10 minutes we were all over them, but Stewart, who we know is a good goalie, and who maybe didn’t get as much help as he would’ve liked on Saturday, kept us off the score sheet.
“If one of our chances goes in it might have got the ball rolling again, but that’s hockey.
“They come down, take a great shot, bar in, and they had the upper hand after that.
“We were the ones who had to take the chances after that, and we were a bit disjointed in our systems.
“Coventry played well and you can tell they are going to do well in that rink.
“Overall it was two good hockey games and I’m pretty happy with the opening weekend of the season.”
Flyers welcome big rivals Braehead Clan to Fife Ice Arena on Saturday in the Challenge Cup and a near sell-out crowd is expected.
The match will be the Glasgow club’s first domestic fixture of the season after their involvement in European competition, namely the Champions Hockey League.
“We haven’t seen them play yet so little bit of the unknown,” Dutiaume said.
“It’s important we focus on what makes us successful.
“On Saturday night you could see the amount of skating these guys do and how fast they are in the transition and that’s something we really want to focus on.
“Our defensive play on Saturday was incredible in front of Brown, and he had a good night as well.
“We’re going to have to throw everything at Braehead and see where it comes.
“We’re going to meet them 10 times this year and we would like to draw first blood.”