Dutes backs Fife Flyers fans to bring the noise
Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume says he’s expecting a whole different atmosphere when his side takes to the ice this weekend.
The Canadian said the noise from the crowd during Saturday’s pre-season match against Dundee Stars was “fantastic”, but says he’s expecting a different level of intensity when they welcome Belfast Giants to Kirkcaldy in the EIHL on Sunday, 24 hours after opening their league season away at Coventry Blaze.
“On Saturday you could hear the noise right around the building as the fans were lining up,” he said.
"We have a whole host of guys who are new to British Ice Hockey and it was a great introduction to that.
"It turned out to be a good night for us and hopefully that’s something we can continue to bring for our fans, because now the business end begins.
“Belfast are perennial contenders for the league crown.
"They’re a team whom we’ve had varying degrees of success against, especially at home.
"I think we’ll see another incredibly busy Fife Ice Arena.
"I was discussing this with the players after training on Wednesday. This will certainly go up a number of notches from the pace that was played on Saturday night and we need to be prepared.
“Belfast have a very well built team and I’m sure they will be ready to go.”
Dutes says he is still one player short of filling his roster for the new season, but says it unlikely the final piece will be in place before the weekend.
"I had a player signed and for just the second time in my Elite League coaching history, he was not eligible for a visa.
"We’re currently on the outlook for our last player. It’s not a fantastic market for players just now, so it’s taking up the lion’s share of our time to fill that roster spot."
Definitely joining the club however, is new Equipment Manager Mike Hildebrand, who has experience as a trainer in the professional leagues in North America.
Dutiaume said: “We’re bringing him in with the vision to, a) come in and do the job, and b) train up a local guy to the standards that we require.
"The ultimate goal is to have somebody local doing the job full-time for many years to come.
"We’ll be looking for Mike to be a mentor of sorts.”