Former Fife Flyers forward Matt Siddall may have only been at the club a matter of months – but says he’s picked up a lifetime of memories.
The Canadian was one of the imports who joined the Flyers in their at times troubled first Elite League season in 2011-12, but had left the club by the turn of the year.
However, that didn’t stop Siddall talking positively about his time and especially about his former coach, Todd Dutiaume.
“It wasn’t the easiest of times when I went there in that first season, more so because we weren’t winning,” he recalled.
“You could see it was going to be a learning experience for them and a gauge of how they were going to compete in the Elite League.
“I would say it was an eye opener for them but it was important for them to take those steps, and now we’re looking at a team who have been in the finals three times now.
“As for Todd, has anyone ever said anything bad about that guy? There’s a reason why. He’s a good man and I found it easy to work for him.
“As a hockey man, I think he’s grown and, at the time, looking back, there was a realisation that everyone had to step up to a whole new level.
“Todd opened his arms to us away from the rink and made the effort to get to know us away from the rink and with our families.
“He went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable and I’ll never forget that.”
Siddall has been around Europe since leaving these shores, leaving Kirkcaldy for Croatian side Medvescak Zagreb before going to Italy for two seasons.
Spells in Austria with HC Innsbruck, Dorbirner and Graz 99ers followed, before going to German DEL2 outfit Dresdner Eislowen last season.
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Although he’s been away from Fife for nearly seven years, he still keeps tabs on the club and was impressed by their endeavours last season.
Winning the Gardiner Conference and reaching the play-off finals was a feat that delighted Siddall and reckons Fife’s emergence in those terms is a positive for the EIHL.
He added: “How good a season did they have last year? They know where they want to get and they’re committed to doing that.
“I still keep tabs on the team, especially when my good friend, Ryan Dingle, played there.
“He and I played together in Italy but I like to see them do well and check their results.
“It took a little time but I couldn’t have been happier for them to win the Conference and reach the play-off finals again.
“It’s good for the league that they’re doing so well.
“It stirred memories of my brief time there, where one of our first games was close to a sell-out and I remember the support from the fans was incredible.
“Everyone was great and it was an enjoyable few months at that stage of my career and I’m glad it’s worked out for them, especially Dutes.’’