Five things we learned from Fife Flyers' three-game weekend

Three games in three nights – that’s a tough schedule for any team, but asking Fife Flyers to also travel to and from Belfast just adds to the mix

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 8:36 am
Brandon MacGee in action for Fife Flyers (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

Here are our takeaways from a tough weekend:

Crowd restrictions:Sport without fans is nothing.

The current limit of 200 people at an indoor event is crippling ice hockey.

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Rinks which can hold 2000-3000 are barely one tenth full thanks to an arbitrary number being applied as a ‘one size fits all’ approach

The Scottish Government can still keep people safe, still enforce social distancing by changing the number to a percentage of the venue’s capacity.

Unlike football, the sport has no major sponsor or lavish TV deal to sustain it - it relies on fans’ gate money.

Turn that tap off and clubs, and rinks are placed under serious financial strain.

There has to be a better way of protecting public health while allowing sport - and society - to function.

Belfast blues:

Flyers must be sick of the sight of Belfast Giants.

The teams have now met eight times across this season, and results have all gone the way of the Irish side.

It feels like the teams meet every other weekend, and that isn’t good for them or for fans who get a sense of deja vu as they study the fixture lists.

Incredibly, the teams are slated to meet in two successive weekends again next month.

There’s a weariness about that familiarity already.

It happens too often in the sport.

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Fife Flyers claim first point of season against Belfast Giants

First goals:Good to see Flyers’ new signings both bagging their first goals for the club.

Brandon Magee got his first up at Dundee on Monday, and fellow December arrival, Tommi Jokinen, nailed it against Giants on Saturday.

Small personal landmarks perhaps, but they are the sort of milestones which help players settle in.

Not quite VAR:You wait all season for a video review … and get two in two games.

Both have also gone against Fife Flyers.

On Monday at Dundee, referee Alan Craig studied the TV footage to decide on a Stars’ goal.

He took his time, sparking a cry from the crowd: “Are you watching The Chase?”

The goal was given.

Ditto on Sunday when Giants’ second goal was subject to scrutiny.

Let’s hope it’s third time lucky and works in Fife’s favour.

Travel blues:Travelling to Belfast and back and then going to Nottingham would exhaust anyone - never mind having to lace up and play three games in three nights.

Flyers’ January schedule is punishing, and it’s only going to get worse as the club tries to shoehorn in the games put on hold over Christmas.

Friday’s trump to Belfast was just the first addition - more will follow, and there will compromises along the way as all EIHL teams play catch-up.

Another reason why the sport has to avoid any more interruptions.

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