Travel, sleep, skate, lace up – whirlwind start for Sean Giles at Fife Flyers

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Sean Giles didn’t have a lot of time to settle into Kirkcaldy before hitting the ice in his debut game for Fife Flyers on Friday.

The club’s new defenceman arrived in town just 24 hours earlier, and was able to fit in two skates with his new team-mates before the puck dropped.

“I flew all day Wednesday” said the Colorado native, “and tried to get lots of sleeps. The skates were 100 per cent helpful to be honest - it was good to meet everyone. I felt very welcome from the start, and now it’s important now to get on the page with the systems and make sure I can fit in and not have any ‘pre season’ mistakes.”

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Giles came to Flyers after spending last season with HC Presov in Slovakia, but prior to that he was on the same Jacksonville Icemen’s roster as forward Ben Hawerchuk and Glasgow’s Luke Lynch, who was his room mate for four years at Robert Morris University.

Sean Giles made his debut for Fife Flyers at the weekend (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)Sean Giles made his debut for Fife Flyers at the weekend (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)
Sean Giles made his debut for Fife Flyers at the weekend (Pic: Jillian McFarlane)

“I come halfway round the world and see my room-mate on the opposite bench - hockey is a small community and it happens so often. The guys you play with in junior you play against at college and then when you turn pro you meet up again.”

Those connections also allow players to get a feel for the road ahead, with British hockey new to the blue liner.

“I was looking for a good opportunity to showcase myself, and also wanted to go somewhere I could enjoy life and experience life outside the rink,” he said;. “Tom called and told me there was an opportunity to help improve the team. I can play a lot of minutes and, away from the rink I’ve started picking up golf so it wasn’t a massive decision coming here.

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“I wasn’t too sure what to expect. In Slovakia last year it was more of a possession game. It was a good league with a lot of speedy players. Our team wasn’t so good so we spent a lot of time chasing them! Here it is more of a hybrid game with so many North American imports, so players can enjoy the different styles.”

And while road trips in the UK may see the team spend ten hours travelling to Cardiff, they won’t come as anything new to Giles.

“Everywhere you go there are road trips,” he said. “We once had to go from Texas to Minnesota for four games - 26 hours on the road. We had a sleeper bus, but I was rookie …”

It’s safe to say he didn’t qualify for one of the bunks. Five hours to Coventry this Saturday will seem like a Sunday drive in comparison.