Flyers coach in limbo as EIHL future remains on hold

Todd Dutiaume, head coach Fife Flyers.  Stephen Gunn Photography Copyright.
Todd Dutiaume, head coach Fife Flyers. Stephen Gunn Photography Copyright.

Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiuame admits he is facing an anxious wait to discover his own fate while the club’s future in the Elite League remains in doubt.

In a statement issued last week, Flyers revealed that plans for next season are on hold until after an EIHL board meeting on April 27, where representatives from all 12 teams, including new additions Guildford Flames and Milton Keynes Lightning, will attempt to thrash out a structure for the 2017-18 season.

Fife, Dundee Stars and Edinburgh Capitals are all believed to be reconsidering their position within the EIHL after becoming concerned by proposed changes to the format as well as potential increased running costs.

The situation has put the issue of confirming a head coach for next season on the back burner, leaving Dutiaume uncertain over his role in what would be his 20th season at the club.

“We haven’t sat down and had any official talks yet,” he told the Press.

“My position isn’t the main priority right now – it’s getting the league structure up and running and securing a future for the club.

“As it stands I’m still working for them, and taking care of all the end of year stuff. Once we know what’s going on we’ll sit down and sort things out.

“There are a lot of implications for me, my family and the families of all the people we’d want to employ next season.

“People can always go and find new jobs, but it’s not a nice feeling when your career is in limbo.”

Dutiaume has held his year-end meetings with players and has identified a core he would like to retain next season - if Fife stay in the EIHL.

“The meetings were all very positive and we’re in touch with a number of players we’d like to sign,” he said. “Once we get the green light we can start moving things forward.”

Fans are understandably concerned by the prospect of Fife dropping out of the EIHL, and Dutiaume has called on league bosses to come up with a sustainable solution for all clubs.

“With the import numbers we’ve now got, it’s starting to resemble the old Superleague and we all know how that ended up,” he said.

“We need to stop trying to be something we’re not. We’re a British league – we should be paying sensible salaries, with a reasonable contingent of British players playing the game.

“If it takes 10 years to get there, then take the 10 years to get it right.

“It’s something I’ve said for years and has always been a concern for this club.

“The directors will have to consider their future very carefully, but I know for a fact that they will do what is right for British hockey and for Fife Flyers.”