Jeff Hutchins arrived at Fife Flyers already knowing what it took to win the Gardiner Conference.
He was in charge of the Dundee Stars side that claimed the title in 2014, and the experience he brought to the assistant coach position in Fife has undoubtedly been a significant factor in helping the team over the line.
Braehead Clan have only failed to win the conference twice in the six years it has been in operation, and each time Hutchins has been on the opposition bench.
“It’s a fantastic achievement,” Hutchins told the Press. “From a coaching point of view we put a lot of hard work in over the summer to bring in the right guys, and during the year we’ve spent a lot of time at the rink and thinking about things.
“We used a lot of the learnings I had from that year with Dundee, and we were in a similar situation where you have injuries and you have to find a way. I kept saying to Dutes that the last hurdle is the hardest one to get over and you feel that sense of emotion, it’s such a relief that you’ve got over the line.
“I’m just glad that the players have been rewarded and that Todd has got his trophy. He takes a lot of flak from the fan base at times, and he wears a lot of it, and I’m really happy that we got a trophy to Fife.”
Flyers certainly didn’t make it easy for themselves on Sunday, falling 6-5 behind with 46 seconds left, only to score the equaliser they needed to clinch the conference with 16 seconds to go.
“It’s not the way we drew it up, but it’s tough getting over the line, especially when playing a team that’s fighting for their lives,” Hutchins added. “I’m just happy we’ve finally brought some silverware to Fife and the guys that we’ve had this year have bought into what we’re trying to achieve.
“They’ve been fantastic and they deserve it.”