Fife Flyers: fans' friendlies anger, and missed opportunity to add extra value
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With an international break scheduled, the club, Dundee Stars and Glasgow Clan had planned to revive the Scottish Cup weekend - a competition that has bounced around the seasons and been used as a handy break from league duty for as long as I can remember. Many old-time fans will recall the days when it was backed by Capital Foods and often figured on Scotsport broadcasts on STV.
Clan’s announcement that it was withdrawing - even before the competition was formally launched with any great fanfare - not only scuppered the plan I understand all three had signed up to, but managed to turn the heat back on Stars and Flyers after they opted to play back to back.
While Clan purred about “providing the team with rest to fully focus on the remainder of the season” fans in the east fumed.
Clan’s statement was a neat PR win after an annus horribilis season off the ice. It let them enjoy the view from the moral high ground while their rivals were left to deal with the fallout.
But it begs the question - would the Clan fans who applauded their club’s decision have fumed at the news they were playing for a trophy which hasn’t been dusted off for many years?
And would supporters from all three teams have reacted as critically if the cup competition had gone ahead as planned and agreed?
I’m not entirely sure the difference between playing two challenge games or a Scottish Cup weekend is really that great.
There is valid discussion on ticket prices to be had given the cost of living crisis, and much more should have been made of the weekend with confirmed ice time for fringe players, and even more fan interaction to give added value to make it stand out from a standard hockey weekend - a free post-game skate with the team, maybe a fun skills contest between periods., The sense of getting value for money, and of being valued is more important than ever for fans. I think both clubs missed a real opportunity here.
As for the games, it makes sense for both to play rather than let the guys goof around on the beach or tee up at a golf course for some R&R.
Players rarely get a whole week off at this stage of the season - unless they are carrying an injury or need to rest up - and few expect it.
Stars have limited time to make their play-off push - they are slightly adrift in tenth spot - and Fife have a cup final in their sights, and a testing semi-final second leg on the immediate horizon. Good enough reason to lace up and get competitive, hopefully injury free, games under their belts.