Follmer’s move to Fife Flyers close to collapse

Kyle Follmer's UK visa delays look set to scupper his move to Fife Flyers.
Kyle Follmer's UK visa delays look set to scupper his move to Fife Flyers.

Kyle Follmer’s move to Fife Flyers is believed to be on the verge of collapse after the defenceman’s arrival was delayed a further week.

The Press understands that Follmer has been denied a visa, although the club are still seeking further information before deciding on the player’s future.

The 29-year-old American, who played for Quad City Mallards in the ECHL last season, was initially signed in July but it seems his Flyers career could be over before it starts.

A club spokesman said: “At this stage we still can’t say what the exact problem or hold up is, but we are chasing the department who have been dealing with the visa process for an update.”

Former Dundee Stars defenceman James Isaacs has been providing short term cover, although Flyers have still been operating an import down due to an injury to Phil Paquet.

Head coach Todd Dutaiume said: “The situation with Follmer is out of our control.

“It’s not ideal but the boys have been playing well, and James Isaacs has come in and helped us out at a time that was obviously beneficial for both parties.

“I don’t think he’s exceeded expectations, but we’re very pleased with what he’s done so far, and he is well liked by his team mates. He’s been a great pick up for us.”

Whether Isaacs is viewed as a permanent solution to Follmer’s ongoing absence remains to be seen, however, Dutiaume confirmed that he is currently in the market for players.

“We’re very pleased with the team we have right now, but if any player becomes available who will strengthen the line up – 100 per cent,” he said. “We’ll always be keeping an eye out. We don’t want to be satisfied or fall into lulls. We want to keep pushing forward and putting the best product on the ice.

“We’ll always be on the look out to improve this team.”

Flyers have overcome Follmer’s absence to record three wins from their opening four games, including a 4-1 win over Nottingham Panthers in Sunday’s Elite League opener.

Dutiaume is delighted with the start his team have made. He said: “Our schedule for the first month is incredibly tough so if I’d been offered three wins from the opening four games I would’ve taken that hands down.

“We’ve had limited time with the guys but they’ve performed well and set the bar high with their performance on Sunday – which showed they can bounce back from a loss.

“We’re pretty pleased with the way the team is looking right now, although I fully understand we’ve been asking a lot of a few players and that’s something we’ll be looking to remedy.”

Flyers face local rivals Dundee Stars for the first time this season on Saturday in a Challenge Cup match at Fife Ice Arena. The match will see Jeff Hutchins face his former club for the first time in his new role as Fife assistant coach.

“You think about those things beforehand but when the puck drops they are just another hockey club,” Dutiaume said.

“They are close rivals of ours and it looks like they’ve put together a fast, skilled team. We want to draw first blood against them and set the bar for the year.”

Flyers then take the bus to Wales on Sunday for the EIHL match away to highly-fancied Cardiff Devils.

“That’s going to be one of strongest hockey clubs in the league,” Dutiaume said.

“It will be good to get a benchmark of how we match up to them, especially in their building where they will be formidable.”