Liam Heelis: The unique qualities at core of Fife Flyers

Liam Heelis, Fife Flyers Gardiner Conference Champions 2017-18. Pic: Steve Gunn
Liam Heelis, Fife Flyers Gardiner Conference Champions 2017-18. Pic: Steve Gunn

Togetherness and a strong group mentality are among the attributes which have helped put Fife Flyers within two matches of UK glory.

Liam Heelis said the players had absorbed a number of factors from their experiences this season, which acted as good preparation for their amazing win in Altrincham.

Liam Heelis icing for Fife Flyers (Pic: Steve Gunn)

Liam Heelis icing for Fife Flyers (Pic: Steve Gunn)

Belief was another critical factor in the squad’s make-up, he added – and that was possibly an even stronger quality than confidence.

As Flyers turned their attention towards this weekend’s action, after the contrasting emotions of Saturday and Sunday night, Heelis said: “I think we have re-set as a team and we are on to our next objective.

‘‘We have had a couple of days to indulge ourselves in the experience we just encountered this past week, and now we are refocusing for this upcoming weekend.

“We have prepared the same way all season long for our weekends, and we will prepare the same – although there’s a little bigger outcome at the end of it.”

Heelis added the belief instilled in the squad by the coaches and the leadership helped convince them they could overhaul the 4-1 deficit against Manchester Storm when they travelled to Lancashire on Sunday.

“I think we overcame it and did something pretty special,” he added.

The advice by head coach Todd Dutiaume to regard the game in bite-sized stages, and concentrate on a period at a time, was an undoubted help.

The players had switched their mind-set more to a process orientation, rather than the outcome and the actual game score, he explained.

“It helped us to play in the moment and play shift with the greatest intensity we could. Following that, the outcome took care of itself.

“We have battled a lot of adversity all season and had situations where our backs were against the wall. That helped prepare us for Sunday as well.”

The kind of comeback Flyers produced will have given them a clear psychological boost.

But, as Heelis pointed out, they’ve re-set themselves for each challenge ahead.

“We will head into this weekend with the same orientation we had on Sunday – focusing on one shift, one period at a time, and submerging ourselves in that experience.”

Sunday’s comeback was fairly special when compared alongside other thrilling Flyers recoveries.

“Hockey is an interesting game that way – you are never really quite out of it, as long as you believe in yourselves,” said Heelis.

“Our group doesn’t want to leave each other or disband – it wants to fight for each other and is willing to fight for each other at any given point.”

A three-week training camp, before their competitive league series began, also helped foster great team spirit and camaraderie.

Heelis added there was quality and character among the individuals. “The guys brought some important pieces to the puzzle and, with good leadership, we’ve been battling the same way since the start of the season.”

There was respect for everyone and no egos or hierarchy in the dressing room, he added. “The dynamics are unique – cliques can divide a room but we have been together as one core unit.

“These guys exceed expectations. You feel you can accomplish anything with them.”