Edinburgh Capitals player-coach Riley Emmerson has praised the response of his players after this week’s shock departure of club captain Everett Sheen.
Sheen, who was homesick, returned to Canada just 24 hours before a short-benched Capitals – already missing suspended defensive duo Kyle Bigos and Kyle Flemington, plus the injured David Rutherford – travelled to Sheffield Steelers, only to knock-off last season’s champions 5-4 after penalty shots.
“Every single guy was fantastic for us,” said Emmerson. “Our British guys, and the three players who guested for us from the (Sheffield) Steeldogs were tremendous. It was a huge two points.
“Throughout any season you are going to have to play through some difficult times, and when that happens you need guys to step up big, and that’s what happened on Wednesday night.
“It’s disappointing, to lose a player like Everett Sheen. He came in as our club captain, but he just wasn’t happy here. He missed his fiancé, plus the culture and the way the league is run over here is a bit different to what he is used to.
“We have a tremendous group of guys, they all get along so well. After Everett left, I called a team meeting and asked if anyone else was unhappy to please speak to me about it, but no one came forward so I think we’re all in it for the long haul. We’re doing our best to change things off the ice, to improve things so that it’s easier to keep everyone happy.”
Edinburgh Capitals co-owner Scott Neil admitted Sheen’s departure came as a surprise and confirmed the club are working towards resolving any off-ice problems amid rumours North American clubs are looking to snap-up Edinburgh players, who with Wednesday’s win now move up to fifth place in the Elite League.
Neil said: “I believe an opportunity came up for him overseas which allowed him to be closer to his partner and that’s about all I know. I heard rumours about it on Saturday, but he had already booked his flight home so there was not much that could be done. This came completely out of the blue, even to Riley who perhaps would have thought there would have been players before him who would be tempted away by other offers.
“No player has told me they’re unhappy here, we do have one issue concerning vehicles but I think that will be sorted within the next day or two.”
Edinburgh are next in action away to Braehead Clan tomorrow in a match that counts towards both league and Challenge Cup standings before a Forth derby with Fife Flyers at Murrayfield on Sunday (face-off 5:30pm).