Fife Flyers: Challenging market for signings as one target opts against UK move
One of the post-lockdown challenges which has faced ice hockey teams is recruitment.
With the 20121-22 season up and running, several clubs are still looking to either finalise their rosters, or bring in additional skaters as they try to ring the changes.
But, they are all discovering that the market is not buoyant.
And, this season, they face the added challenge of only having a limited number of registrations to use.
Fife Flyers have been searching for several players to plug the gaps in their roster which became apparent in a rocky opening few weeks.
While the team has stabilised, the desire and commitment to strengthen remains.
The challenge is getting the right players in.
Todd Dutiaume, head coach, is well aware that each and every individual signing made anywhere across the EIHL only adds to the pressure with fans asking why team ‘x’ can land a skater and Flyers cannot.
In his case he has a specific role to fill - a centreman.
The club is willing to invest in additional signings, but, the challenge of striking a deal was evident this week as one target slipped through the net.
He explained: “We were pursuing a player and made an extremely good offer.
“Another team came in and trumped us - but then the player decided against going to them or even coming to the UK at all, and went to another league.“There are players out there but it’s a tough, tough market - and it’s a players’ market right now. They have plenty of options and can choose which suits them best.
“They’re not having to take a job for the sake of it - and if you are a player that’s a good thing.
“But it is frustrating for coaches and for fans.”
Flyers have added defenceman Colton Waltz who made his debut at the weekend, and Chase Schaber whose return has been in limbo since re-signing for the team in mid-October.
Dutiaume only has a handful of registrations to use - and once they are gone, his hand is empty.
“We are not being ultra selective and we ARE pursuing new signings but can’t burn those registrations,” he said.
Some teams have drafted imports in as injury cover as a player can be put on the reserve list for 21 days while out injured, giving clubs the option of short-term cover - it’s far from a cheap option, and one not open to Flyers who have remained healthy.
And the last thing the coach wants is players sidelined on the treatment table.
“We’re healthy and the guys are doing a good job,” he said. ”We’re winning on both sides - at home and away - and guys are giving us a fighting chance.
“We do need a full complement of imports, but, right now, guys like Scott Jamieson and Richard Krogh are taking the chance to develop, and they are doing a great job.”