New signing Brandon Coccimiglio today told Edinburgh Capitals fans he is fully fit and looking to “start up a whole new season” as he prepares to make his debut at Elite League leaders Belfast Giants tonight.
Coccimiglio, who joined from French club Morzine-Avoriaz Penguins on Tuesday, has had two training sessions with his new team-mates and said: “Everything was processed very quickly so I’m ready to go and start a whole new season here.
“I’m just getting my feet wet. It’s always different when you go to a new team but it’s a good North American practice that (player/coach) Riley Emmerson puts on and we’re ready for what is sure to be a tough game tonight.”
The 28-year-old winger, who took a break from the game last season, has dismissed fears from his former employers – currently second bottom of the French top-flight – over an old back injury suffered by the player.
The Alpine club have claimed they were prepared to let Coccimiglio leave as they feared the injury would resurface but the Canadian, who will wear the No.77 jersey for the Caps, countered: “They don’t have resources. There were guys getting injured there all the time. I told them about that and that I’m good to play this game for the next four or five years, as long as I can.
“I hurt my back just one time and they wouldn’t even give me therapy, nothing. That’s a reason why I wanted to leave, it’s easier to treat things when you play in a big city. It’s common for hockey players to have a bad back as they get older, you see them with the heat packs on all the time. It’s just part of the game.
“Morzine had a tough start to the season. They’re a good organisation but they’ve struggled to get some of the better players in and I just felt I needed something new. I made contact with Emmerson and David Rutherford. We started negotiating and finally I’m here.
“I’ve a lot of friends and team-mates who’ve played here (in the UK) and told me it’s a good league and getting better every year. I’m just looking forward to getting started.”
Coccimiglio enjoyed a fruitful on-ice relationship with new Capitals team-mate Rutherford when the pair played together – alongside Emmerson – for Arizona Sundogs two years ago in America’s Central Hockey League.
“Morzine was a good place to play. I left on good terms, but I just needed to better myself and there are a lot of good hockey players at this club like (Ryan) Hayes and (David) Rutherford,” said Coccimiglio.
“I’ve played with Rutherford before and we gelled. When you find something special like that, you always want to come back to it. Hopefully, we can rekindle what we had in Arizona and contribute to us winning us some hockey games.
“Rutherford is a very big reason why I’m here. Emmerson too, he’s a great guy. When we all played together in Arizona we were known as the ‘Arizona fun dogs’. He’s doing really well as coach and he’s the sort of guy who’ll do anything for his players.”
The signing of Coccimiglio, who replaces Everett Sheen as the club’s 13th import, brings Edinburgh back up to the league’s limit on overseas players. However, Caps will not have the luxury of a full strength squad for tonight’s game in Belfast as they travel without Jordan Steel (shoulder) and Paul Zanette, who picked up a lower body injury in Sunday’s 7-5 home victory over Sheffield Steelers.