These NHL players made their mark at Fife Flyers

Doug Smail, Fife Flyers 1993 (Pic: Bill Dickman)
Doug Smail, Fife Flyers 1993 (Pic: Bill Dickman)

Fife Flyers fans are used to seeing guys with an NHL stamp on their hockey CVs.

The club was at the forefront of the Heineken era revolution by bringing Ron Plumb from the Hartford Whalers, and they were the first to sign someone direct from the world’s greatest league when they brought Doug Smail across in ’94.

Fife Flyers 2000 - Mark Morrison

Fife Flyers 2000 - Mark Morrison

When he called his buddy, Laurie Boschman, a veteran of 1000 NHL games and a belting 2000 PIMs, well, the old barn fair lit up.

Mark Morrison had a New York Rangers pedigree before heading to Europe, while Steve Gatzos may have been at the tail end of his career when he came to Fife, but his CV still showed sterling service with the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins, defenceman Al Sims came via the Boston Bruins, and Todd Bidner the Washington Capitals.

If new signing, Brett Bulmer, gets a guided tour of the rink and is taken into the old dressing-room, he will find all their names preserved on a home made wall of fame which charts pretty much every skater to pull on a Fife jersey since the mid 1980s.

It’d be neat, in the club’s 80th anniversary year, if he added his signature to it.

Fife Flyers - NHL star Laurie Boschman playing for the club in 1994

Fife Flyers - NHL star Laurie Boschman playing for the club in 1994

Bulmer’s CV is the sort that makes long-standing hockey fans sit up and take notice - three short stints with the Minnesota Wild in the NHL is a more than decent headline.

They’ll look beyond the stats, and see a solid AHL resume as well as the NHL experience, and note his draft placing too.

They’ll check out his size and quickly envisage how he may hook up with former Florida team-mate Evan Bloodoff.

In short, this is the sort of signing that comes with the ‘wow’ factor the club needed after keeping its card pretty close to its chest throughout the recess.

Steve Gatzos, Fife Flyers, playing against Murrayfield Racers, late 1980s  (Pic:Bill Dickman)

Steve Gatzos, Fife Flyers, playing against Murrayfield Racers, late 1980s (Pic:Bill Dickman)

Chatting recently with assistant coach, Jeff Hutchins, he kept saying the full picture had yet to be revealed - Bulmer was clearly one of the key pieces of the jigsaw yet to be unveiled.

He was certainly pumped up about the signing.

The league is packed with some big names and teams are always looking to land that big fish - the one that makes everyone sit up and take notice.

Flyers may go about their business quietly, but Bulmer’s signing underlines the club’s links and its standing.

I’ve no doubt he will have talked to Bloodoff and others on the circuit to get a feel for hockey in Fife.

I suspect they have all told him it’s a great place to play - an old-time hockey barn in a town that has been in love with the sport for eight decades.

Flyers fans have always thrilled to a bit of star quality on the ice - a showman, a game-winner, a player who stands out and makes a difference.

If he makes the same mark as the club’s previous ex-NHLers, then this anniversary season could be an absolute blast.