All roads lead to Fife Ice Arena this weekend for the start of a landmark season for Fife Flyers.
Flyers begin their Elite League campaign at home to Cardiff Devils on Saturday before travelling across the Forth for a Challenge Cup clash against Edinburgh Capitals on Sunday.
Flyers, who turn 75 in October, are hopeful that at least one, possibly two new import signings will arrive in time to face the Devils and player-coach Todd Dutiaume, who won’t play this weekend due to injury, is looking forward to getting the new season underway.
“There is a lot to be excited about,” he said. “We feel we’ve got a good squad, and that the people of Kirkcaldy will see another season of good hockey.
“We feel we can be competitive all season and improve on last season. Cardiff have assembled a strong team but we have to go in with the attitude that we don’t want to lose our first game on home ice.”
Dutiaume urged Flyers fans not to panic in the wake of Sunday’s 7-2 pre-season friendly defeat in Dundee.
“Our lack of preparation showed, but maybe it was a good thing to get embarrassed right off the bat,” he said. “The guys won’t want to feel like that again.
“If it was our full line-up and there were points at stake I’d be more concerned, but with another two bodies, and myself back in the line-up, we’re a completely different team.”
Flyers are expecting a big turn-out for the league opener after attracting a crowd of over 1700 to last week’s friendly at Fife Ice Arena.
Danny Stewart, Flyers associate coach, added: “It was fantastic turn-out and it left us a little taken aback.
“You always expect good support in Fife - but not that much! It was great to see and it was exciting for the new guys.”
Flyers face a difficult start to the new season with their first four league games all against Erhardt Conference teams.
“I can’t stress enough how tough our September is,” Dutiaume said. “It’s going to be a grind for us but we have to tough it out.”