Fife Flyers: Summer of change promised after team finishes in last place

The talk rinkside was not of the last game of the season - but where Fife Flyers go from here.

Sunday, 17th April 2022, 10:21 pm

The first full campaign since the pandemic was long and taxing for the fans, players and coaches.

The club finished tenth and last in the EIHL - the exact same spot it occupied when the 2019-20 campaign was curtailed by the pandemic.

Flyers finished the season with three games in three nights, and three defeats - a grim 6-1 loss to Dundee, and back to back defeats at the hands of Glasgow Clan, 7-2 in Renfrew and 4-3 at Fife Ice Arena tonight.

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Jeff Hutchins (Pic: Scott Wiggins)

Even before the final buzzer sounded, the focus was what happens next.

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It’s clear that many within the club understand significant changes are needed to halt the stagnation, and make hockey exciting again.

Jeff Hutchins’ programme column gave a clear indication of the direction of travel - and a hint of a timeline that suggested much more urgency than Flyers have shown in previous summers when the club has tended to shut down for a chunk of the off-season.

Fife Flyers celebrate one of their final goals in the last game of the season (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

The assistant coach has taken a lead role during the closing weeks of the season - on the bench and on social media as well as handling the bulk of the post-game media interviews.

And his message was clear- things are changing.

“There are a lot of new initiatives we want to put in place for next season,” he said.

“We want to engage with fans as much as possible.”

That means not setting on signing announcements as has been the case for a number of seasons - and addressing the issues raised directly by fans who responded to the assistant coach’s call for feedback on Twitter.

In the dressing-room, the post-season wash-ups have already begun.

Hutchins said: “We have been talking to players for the last three to four weeks and we have been talking to the player we are interested in having back.

“We are poised to put our best foot forward for next season - and that is starting now.”

He said talks with some players were at an advanced stage - fans will be hoping that list includes stand-out netminder Shane Owen and players such as Michael McNicholas, Jacob Benson, to name but three who lit up the season.

“We need to work on keeping a steady flow of releasing information and keeping fans engaged during the summer. That has been at the forefront of our minds.

“We will not sit on information, and we are confident we will have some signings to announce not to far from when the season ends.”