Fife Flyers’ fixtures: Why fans are losing many Saturday hockey nights

Fife Flyers - Fife Ice Arena (Pic: FFP)
Fife Flyers - Fife Ice Arena (Pic: FFP)

Fife Flyers’ fans face a big shift away from traditional Saturday hockey nights next season.

The club’s home games across the 2019-20 campaign have been split evenly over the weekends which run from September to March.

There are no fewer than 14 Sunday hockey nights pencilled in for Fife Ice Arena – and December has just one game on a Saturday.

On the plus side there are no triple headers and very few midweek matches – but the decline of the traditional Saturday night slot hands the club a real challenge over how it promotes its matches.

Sunday attendances have traditionally been lower in Kirkcaldy, and Flyers will have to redouble their efforts to get fans through the door.

Overall, the team’s schedule is much more balanced, but it’s clear the league wide shift – to try to accommodate more teams who have Saturday as a preferred choice – has not gone down entirely well in the boardroom.

Jack Wishart, director, said: “We put our case forward that we should get preference as we have always been a Saturday team but this was not looked on in our favour. It was decided to try to give each team the same amount of Saturday fixtures.”

Flyers face six Challenge Cup games in the opening five weeks as the club joins Glasgow Clan, Dundee Stars and Belfast Giants in a knockout section.

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Flyers open at home to Glasgow Clan on Saturday, September 7 and away to Dundee Stars the following night.

A Belfast double header on September 28/29 – away Saturday, home on Sunday – is followed by the first road trip to Braehead on Saturday, October 5 before a Sunday home game against Dundee Stars on the sixth.

The league campaign launches on October 14 with Coventry at home and Nottingham away on the Sunday.

Blaze then make the return journey to Kirkcaldy on the 21st and that’s followed by Flyers’ first long journey south to Guildford Flames just 24 hours later.

October offers a home double header which brings Sheffield Steelers and Nottingham to Kirkcaldy, plus the first midweek hockey - a Wednesday journey to take on Steelers.

The month ends with Flyers’ live television game against Belfast Giants on Wednesday,October 30 – their only listed appearance in Premier Sports’ schedule of 17 games.

That compares with four games featuring Belfast Giants, the league and play-off champions.

In terms of midweek hockey, Flyers face Wednesday journeys to Sheffield and Cardiff, and Fridays in Nottingham and Belfast.

Fans looking for a double header road trip have just one option, but it takes them back to Belfast for two nights in March.

SEPTEMBER: 7 Glasgow (H) CC; 8. Dundee (A) CC; 14 Coventry (A) L; 15 Nottingham (H) L; 21 Coventry (H) L; 22 Guildford (A) L; 28 Belfast (A) CC; 29. Belfast (H) CC

OCTOBER: 5 Glasgow (A) CC; 6. Dundee (H) CC; 12 Sheffield (H) L; 13. Nottingham (H) 13 L; 16 Sheffield (A) L; 19 Guildford (H) L; 20. Guildford (A) L; 26. Nottingham (A) L; 27. Sheffield (H) L; 30 Belfast (H) L.

NOVEMBER: 2 Cardiff (H) L; 9. Glasgow (A) L; 10. Dundee (H) L; 16. Glasgow (H) L; 17. Cardiff (A) L; 23. Manchester (H) L; 24. Guildford (A) L; 30. Belfast (H) L

DECEMBER: 1 Guildford (H) L; 7. Dundee (A) L; 8. Cardiff (H) L; 14. Sheffield (A) L; 15 Guildford (H) L; 21 Manchester (A) L; 22 Belfast (H) L; 26 Dundee (A) L; 28. Dundee (H) H; 31. Glasgow (A) L

JANUARY: 4 Glasgow (H) L; 5. Cardiff (A|) L; 11. Coventry (A) L; 12. Manchester (H) L; 18. Manchester (A) L 19. Nottingham (H) L; 25 Cardiff (H) L; 26. Glasgow (A) L

FEBRUARY: 1 Coventry (H) L; 2. Nottingham (A) L; 8 Dundee (H) L; 9 Manchester (A) L; 14 Nottingham (A) L; 16. Sheffield (H) L; 19. Cardiff (A) L; 22. Dundee (A) L; 23 Manchester (H) L; 29 Sheffield (A) L

MARCH: 6 Belfast (A) L; 14 Glasgow (H) L; 15 Coventry (A) L; 20 Belfast (A) L 21 Belfast (A); 28 Coventry (H) L.