Fife Flyers: Todd Dutiaume and Jeff Hutchins' expanded roles for new season

Fife Flyers have announced changes to the roles of Todd Dutiaume and Jeff Hutchins for the new ice hockey season.

Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 10:07 am

Dutiaume continued as head coach, but will also take on the role of general manager - a post many fans have felt has been needed for some time.,

And Hutchins becomes associate coach with a greater role in the day to day running of the club - and its summer recruitment.

There was widespread speculation long-serving Dutiaume would step back completely from the bench and become GM after a difficult 2021-22 season saw the club finish last in the EIHL - a second successive tenth-placed finish.

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Todd Dutiaume (left) and Jeff Hutchins with the Gardiner Conference trophy.(Pic: Steve Gunn)

But the club’s statement said he would “stay on as a presence behind the Flyers' bench.”

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Dutiaume’s new expanded role will now include addressing some long standing issues, including communication with fans and raising the team’s profile.

The changes come after a review of operations on and off the ice.

Fife Flyers - Todd Dutiaume, head coach on the bench (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

Dutiaume said: “"I'm excited to get back to work and take the lead in this new role.

"We've spent the necessary time to evaluate who we are as a club and the direction we wish to move towards in the future.

“This is an opportunity to make fundamental changes to the way we operate both on and off the ice.”

His immediate goals are to tackle the club’s poor efforts at communication and improve a match night which many feel has stagnated, and “place a product on the ice that appeals to our loyal support.”

He added: “ With that in place, we will continuously strive to build and add layers to the Club as the season moves forward and in future years."

Hutchins continues with the greater role he took in the closing stages of last season as he handled almost all media briefings and stepped up on the bench.

The former Dundee Stars player-coach, who has been with Fife since 2016-17, said: “It is exciting to be looking forward and the changes we are undertaking as an organisation will only benefit the club on and off the ice.

Recruitment of the team is well underway, we are focused on bringing in good people, good players, and individuals that will energise Fife Ice Arena, and the game night experience. “

He promised “exciting times” and urged fans to “stay tuned."

The club’s shake-up behind the scenes also saw a number of off-ice roles filled, and publicly announced - another change of approach.

Canadian Mike Hildenbrand returns for a second season, and this year will be joined by his family, with his wife Catie joining as a volunteer business development and partnerships manager.

Her remit will be to raise the club’s profile, tackle the issue of communication with fans and build support for the team.

Carol Johnstone continues as commercial manager, Pam Clark returns to the front office staff as the organisation's finance and merchandise manage, and Evelyn Cairns is back in sales and public relations.

The club said confirming the posts meant it could “look forward to starting a new chapter”on and off the ice.

Its statement added: “This will include an increased focus on information sharing and transparency with the community.

“As an organisation rooted in the local community, the team relies on the support of, and engagement with their fans and supporters for success. We are unified in this approach and now look to the fans to share their love for the team and continue their incredible support throughout the upcoming season.”

Fixtures for the new season should be published early next month with the promise of “special games and promotions for fans.

Player signings should start to be announced in the coming days.