Nobody should be abusing officials

Matt Nickerson earns a penalty from referee Scott Dalgleish for this cross-check on Edinburgh's Jade Portwood. Pic: Steve Gunn
Matt Nickerson earns a penalty from referee Scott Dalgleish for this cross-check on Edinburgh's Jade Portwood. Pic: Steve Gunn

Fife Flyers coach Todd Dutiaume has told his players that he will not tolerate them taking penalties for abusing referees.

Flyers lost defenceman Matt Nickerson to a game misconduct during Sunday night’s win over Edinburgh Capitals at Murrayfield for abuse of an official.

Dutiaume has questioned the performance of officials on more than one occasion this season during his post-match interviews – something he plans to stop.

And he has told his players that, when on the ice, they must keep a lid on their frustrations when decisions go against them.

“When you’re losing, it’s easy to moan about officials,” he told the Press. “I’ve even been caught up in it myself.

“But I’m not going to talk about the officials any more because the way this hockey team has always worked is that we never worried about officials.

“Good call, bad call, we just got on with it and went out to win hockey games.

“That’s what we need to focus on. Nobody on my team should be abusing officials. They should be staying away from them.

“Guys get frustrated but if a call goes the other way they should keep their mouth shut and worry about staying on the ice and playing hockey.

“If guys are playing tough out there, and sticking up for their team mates, I’ll support them 100 per cent.

“But if a guy starts abusing officials he does not have my backing - and he’ll be made to know about it.”

Flyers snapped a three-game losing streak with the win in Edinburgh, and Dutiaume admitted that the result lifted some of the pressure on the club after a poor start to the season.

“Maybe people don’t realise the pressure that Danny Stewart and myself put ourselves under,” he said.

“We feel responsible because we put the team on the ice and put the systems in place. We’re really hard on ourselves, and when results don’t come no-one is more upset than us two.

“We still believe in what we’re putting forth and while Sunday’s result doesn’t change the last three or four weeks, hopefully it’s a step in the right direction.

“If changes need to happen we’ll look at that, but at this moment in time, we’re asking guys to show what they are capable of.

“For the last six minutes against Sheffield, and for good spells on Sunday, they did that, but a lot more is required from this team to be successful.”

Dutiaume expects a difficult weekend with back-to-back away games in Sheffield on Saturday and Cardiff on Sunday.

“Last year, I don’t think many southern teams took the northern teams seriously,” Dutiaume said.

“Now, they realise that leagues and divisions depend on all games, so these teams won’t take nights off against us.”