Scottish Elite Cup: Great pre-season event says Fife coach

Todd Dutiaume on the bench with Fife Flyers, 2017-18 (Pic: Steve Gunn)
Todd Dutiaume on the bench with Fife Flyers, 2017-18 (Pic: Steve Gunn)

The Scottish Elite Cup should become part of ice hockey’s fixtures calendar, according to Fife Flyers head coach.

Todd Dutiaume made the call as he looked ahead to the inaugural competition to be held at Murrayfield Ice Rink this weekend.

It will feature all four Scottish clubs in a weekend of knockout action, with the aim of then taking it round the rinks over the coming years.

Fife Flyers take on Dundee Stars in the opening semi-final on Saturday, followed by Braehead Clan against Edinburgh Capitals.

Sunday’s schedule features the third-fourth place play-off and the final.

Dutiaume believes it is the perfect curtain raiser for a new ice hockey season.

He said: I really hope the tournament becomes a staple in the calendar.

‘‘I’s a great pre-season tournament to get all four sets of fans together.

“It’s also a good weekend to showcase the division, and it also gives a taster of what to expect over the upcoming season.

“It’s useful for giving the guys a chance to hone themselves ahead of the season so it’s one I hope will be successful for everyone involved.’’

The cup weekend also marks the end of Flyers’ most extensive pre-season in their EIHL era.

They have taken on Danish and German opposition over the past two weekend, and now go head to head with their Scottish conference challengers before turning their thoughts to the 2017-18 campaign.

“It’s been a little different for us in pre-season as we usually play a couple of games, and then go straight into the league season.

“We have three weekends of games to get our team ready – so far it’s been well received by the players.

“I’ve definitely seen signs of what we would expect over the last two weeks.’’

He now takes on a new-look Dundee Stars who made the play-off finals weekend for the first time last season.

Dutiaume said: “This weekend will allow us to size up the other teams in our conference. It’ll be good to see how we measure up against them – I’m sure they’ll be hard fought.

“We’re also looking to find our intensity before our Challenge Cup games with Edinburgh and Dundee the following week.

“Stars are a hard working team and posted a big result on Saturday against Belfast. In Omar Pacha, they have a coach who is well respected around the league.’’