Import to miss out as Fife breach quota

Jordan Fulton celebrates with the Fife fans after scoring in Braehead
Jordan Fulton celebrates with the Fife fans after scoring in Braehead

One of Fife Flyers import players could face the chop this weekend due to Elite League rules over import quota.

Club captain Justin DaCosta is back in full training and could return to the line-up for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury on October 13.

With Rok Pajic also due to return to the country today (Thursday) after attending to family business in Slovenia, head coach Todd Dutiaume faces the prospect of having 12 imports to choose from.

EIHL rules stipulate the clubs are only permitted to ice 11 imports in one match - meaning one will have to sit out.

“It’s a luxury I’ve never had as a coach in this league,” Dutiaume explained.

“We’ll assess all the injuries, take a look at both games and put out what we feel is the best line up to gain some points this weekend.

“Getting a guy like DaCosta back is huge for us. He was a big piece of the puzzle when we were putting this team together.

“Losing him for the last six weeks has certainly hurt the team. With Haines coming in as well it gives us a pretty strong defence.”

Including Dutiaume, who is currently out with a long-term injury, Flyers have 13 imports on the books and the player-coach admitted that those resources should be producing better results.

“We’ve had the backing of the directors right from the start this season and that needs to be rewarded,” he said.

“Although we like the team on paper, and feel we’ve upgraded in a number of positions, we haven’t got the results we expected.

“Teams in this league have got their act together - there are no weak sides - but we are playing very inconsistent hockey.

“On some nights we’ve had to question our desire, as well as the chemistry between certain individuals on our team.

“We haven’t fallen on that combination yet that really gets us going night in, night out.

“But if guys are provided with everything they require to be successful, then we have to demand results.

“We need to have that fire and competitiveness we showed in our wins against Nottingham, Sheffield and Cardiff.”

Flyers welcome Coventry Blaze to Fife Ice Arena on Saturday (7.15 p.m.) before travelling to Sheffield Steelers on Sunday.

Last weekend’s back-to-back defeats to Braehead Clan only increased the pressure on the club to make changes - a route Dutiaume is prepared to take.

“We wont just limp through this season,” Dutiaume stressed.

“We’re always on the look out for guys - there’s not many weeks go by when we don’t talk to agents.

“If we feel a player becomes available who will improve the squad we’ll look at it - and not hesitate to make a change.”