35 years ago this month, Fife Flyers signed Steve Moria, sparking a remarkable 25-year UK career

Thirty-five years ago this month, a young Canadian import arrived in Kirkcaldy, and began what was to become a remarkable 25-year career in the UK.

Sunday, 30th January 2022, 1:14 pm

Steve Moria was a class act throughout.

January 1987 saw him arrive as a replacement for Mike Jeffrey in a Fife Flyers’ line up that sat mid-table of the old Heineken Premier League.

He was signed from AHL outfit New Haven Nighthawks where he had been top scorer, and the club was confident they had landed someone special, despite never seeing him play.

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Steve Moria - left, the first photo of him after joining Fife Flyers in 19897, and, right, at the end of the British championship semi-finals at Wembley (Pics; Bill Dickman/Fife Free Press)

And he was.

Moria arrived three days before his debut against Durham Wasps and made an immediate impact, netting two goals and three assists in a 9-5 victory.

His debut goal - eagerly awaited by fans - came via a rebound off a Dave Stoyanovich shot in the second period.

The following night, Moria climbed aboard the team bus for his first road trip, and was the architect of an 11-8 win over Solihull Barons in which he claimed seven assists.

Fife Flyers 1987 awards - Steve Moria (centre), with from left, Jim McLean (team manager), Gordon Latto, Neil Abel, Al Sims, Gordon Goodsir and Andy Linton

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The stats continued to stack - eight goals in a 15-9 win over Whitley Bay Warriors, and a record 13 assists in a 17-goal win at Cleveland to list but two.

And then came a game hailed as “one of the greatest seen at Kirkcaldy Ice Rink in recent years” - a showdown with Murrayfield Racers.

The rink was packed with more than 3000 fans and they saw a pulsating derby.

Steve Moria and Dave Stoyanovich in action for Fife Flyers at the British Championship finals against Durham Wasps (Pic: Bill Dickman/Fife Free Press)

How about this: Racers were 5-0 up in 13 minutes, and then led 8-2 before Flyers tied the game with 90 seconds left to spare.

Moria netted 3+4 as Flyers outshot Racers 65-37 only to run into netminder Moray Hanson in truly inspired form.

Racers then grabbed a last-gasp winner - naturally it came from Mike Jeffrey, the man Mo replaced!

In so many ways, Moria was Flyers’ original Super-Mo - a player loved by the fans.

From left Steve Moria, Fred Perlini and Al Sims (Pic: Bill Dickman/Fife Free Press)

I also seem to recall he penne his own column in the programme, introducing fans to a little known American band by the name of REM …

Moria was at the heart of a Fife team which made it to the British championship finals.

He was the top points scorer in the post-season competition, and anticipation was high as they took on Durham Wasps in the semi-finals at Wembley.

A devastating three goals in 54 seconds saw the Big Blue Machine snatch a 7-5 victory.

Moria was named the Supporters Club player of the year, and left the door open to a return.

Fife Flyers at Wembley, British championship finals, pictured is Steve Moria (Pic: Bill Dickman/Fife Free Press)

And he did, this time with Fred Perlini replacing the legendary Dave Stoyanovich who signed off with a staggering 201-point season.

He played one more season in Fife - 1987-88 netting 151 points in 31 games - before joining the new, and ambitious Cardiff Devils for the first of two spells which would tie him to Wales until 2001.

Blackburn Hawks, Nottingham Panthers, Swindon Wildcats all beckoned in the mid 1990s before settling down south with London Racers and then Slough Jets and Basingstoke Bison.

By the time he hung up his skates he was a remarkable 51 years of age.

The fact his name still resonates with a generation of Fife fans some 35 years after he first arrived in town speaks volumes about the player and the man.

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