EIHL Player of the Week Justin Fox insists he has returned to Fife Flyers a better player after an impressive start to his second season with the Kirkcaldy club.
While the Canadian forward enjoyed a productive debut in the Elite League last year, scoring 53 points in 62 games, he appears to have upped his overall game this term, emerging as one of the stand-out performers of the campaign so far.
As one of the club’s alternate captains, Fox has placed an extra responsibility on his shoulders to be one of the team leaders this season, and his performances so far back it up.
“I feel like I’m off to a good start,” he told the Press.
“Todd brought me back this year as a leader - and that’s something I’m trying to take seriously this year.
“Not that I didn’t last year, but I want to lead by example on the ice and be used in all situations, and the only way to do that is by working your butt off.
“I’m trying to work as hard as I can every night and it’s been paying off so far.
“The goal every year is to improve on the season before.
“Last year was a bit of a tough transition coming here from North America, I started really slow so I had to gain my ground throughout the season.
“This year I came back knowing every team, every rink, and most important, knowing almost every guy in the room and it’s been a real easy transition coming back.
“I worked my butt off this summer on the ice and in the gym and it seems to be reaping the rewards.”
Fox returned from concussion for the weekend double-header against Dundee Stars as the team bounced back from four defeats with four points.
He was given new line mates and the partnership with Ryan Dingle and Sebastian Thinel proved to be dynamite, with the line totalling six goals and seven assists across the two games.
Fox, who helped himself to 3+3, explained: “It’s the first time we’ve been together this year and I think we compliment each other really well.
“Dingle can shoot and is obviously a superb passer, I’ve played against Seb in the past and he’s one of the best passers I’ve ever played against, and I’m prettry much a pure shooter, so it works great for me.
“It seems to be working well for them too and we were clicking on all cylinders. Hopefuly we can keep it going like that moving forward.
“The best thing we can take out of it, is that they were both team wins. We used all guys in all situations, we rolled three lines and six D all weekend and that goes a long way, while Owen did his usual thing back there.
“We came back from behind on Saturday night and showed character, and on Sunday we played a solid team game. It wasn’t anyone in particular stepping up - just everyone doing their job.”
Fox revealed that he saw a different side to Todd Dutiaume last week as the head coach put pressure on his players to end a run of poor form.
“We won’t get into details but that’s probably the hardest I’ve seen Todd on us,” he said.
“But rightfully so. It’s early in the season, we’re underperfoming and we needed a kick in the butt - and clearly it worked.
“It’s only two games so we’re not going to get too excited, but it’s a step in the right direction.
“That’s how we should play every weekend, and it just goes to show, when we play our game we’re capable of beating anyone.
“Dundee has a great team and they were with us all night both games, they battled and have a great goalie, but our persistence and team effort really paid off in the end.”