Fife Flyers and KIHC launch joint Elite Academy
Fife Flyers and Kirkcaldy Ice Hockey Club (KIHC) have teamed up to launch the Elite Academy to properly prepare junior ice hockey players for the Elite League's demands.
Beginning in the new season, the partnership will see both organisations' coaches work together to develop Fife’s young athletes.
The idea is a key objective of the new KIHC chairman and former Flyers player, Daryl Venters, who has taken over from Ian Keddie whoi will now act as the club’s treasurer.
Venters says: “I approached [Flyers Head Coach] Todd Dutiaume to look at how we could better prepare our young players for the demands of the Elite League.”
The Elite Academy will identify players aged 14 to 18 with the attitude and skills to become players with the Fife Flyers.
As they progress through the Academy, they will initially train with their respective age group up to the Kirkcaldy Kestrels, where they will join that team and train with the Fife Flyers players.
Running alongside will be necessary strength and conditioning and education on nutrition and condition programmes – key for all players competing at the highest level.
Venters added: “Part of the Academy Programme will include chaperoning where the members will spend time at matches analysing games and training where they will break down plays to build up Elite Hockey I.Q.
"We also will include training for our coaches with both the current Flyers and other European coaches.”
Dutiaume said they were keen to provide a route that allows young players to develop the key skills both on and off the ice.
"Graduating from the Elite Academy, the young players should be well prepared to ice for the Elite Ice Hockey League's demands and beyond,” he said.
"British players competing in the league need to be bigger, faster and stronger than was once the case. This isn’t something that starts when you join the team, that process has to start in early teens.”
The Flyers’ board of Directors also gave the partnership their backing, saying: “We have always been clear that we want local players icing for the team.”