Edinburgh Capitals will not be looking to import any more players according to team co-owner Scott Neil.
As Capitals prepare for two Gardiner Conference games – beginning tomorrow away to Hull Stingrays, before a home tie on Sunday against Dundee Stars – Neil admitted that with a full quota of imports on their books it’s “unlikely” the club will boost the squad by bringing in additional British players as the team look to move off the bottom of the Elite League.
Neil believes Edinburgh’s future is best served by icing players who have strong local links, and cited former Capitals, East Kilbride born Mark Garside and Englishman Ben O’Connor, both now established GB internationalists, as examples of players who were brought to the club only to leave when they reached their full potential.
Neil said: “I would never rule out moving for players but I would say that it’s unlikely. If we’re going to start bringing in British players to replace home-bred players it doesn’t really benefit us as a club. What we’re trying to do is get back to developing local players through the Edinburgh Capitals system. What we’ve done in the past is almost develop players for other clubs – like Mark Garside and to an extent Ben O’Connor – where we’ve brought those guys in, developed them, and when they begin to fulfil their full potential they move on. Whereas the British players we have now are settled here and committed to staying in Edinburgh, and we’re committed to keeping them at the club.”
Edinburgh’s small squad was exposed on Wednesday night when they travelled to face Sheffield Steelers with only 14 players and suffered a 4-1 defeat. Edinburgh missed Jordan Steel and Danny McIntyre through work commitments, plus Czech star Michal Dobron who has returned home for personal reasons.
Neil added: “Michal has returned home to deal with something a lot more important than hockey and our thoughts are with him and his family. We are expecting him back but we’re not sure when that will be.
“Midweek games involving a lot of travel have always been difficult for us but we’re not the sort of club who can afford to run with a big squad or jet imports in and out on short-term contracts.”
Capitals player-coach Richard Hartmann praise fringe player Mark Fowley’s performance in Sheffield and remained bullish about his team’s chances ahead of tomorrow’s game in Humberside, despite Stingrays’ 5-4 victory when the two sides met at Murrayfield last week.
Hartmann said: “With the squad we had in Sheffield I was proud of the effort they put in. Especially Marc Fowley who played on two lines which is something he has never done before. He did a great job and was exhausted after the game.
“The guys have the usual cuts and bruises but we’ve still prepared well for our next two games. Curtis Leinweber has been suffering a bit from flu but I gave him the last two days off so he could try and get over it.
It’s very important that we get at Hull right from the start. If we stick to our system and work hard I’m confident we can get something.”
Both Edinburgh’s weekend opponents played against one another last night as Hull made the long trip to Tayside losing 3-2 in overtime.
That saw Dundee Stars leap-frog Sheffield in the table and retake third place, while Hull stay in seventh on 19 points, six ahead of Edinburgh, who trail second-bottom Fife Flyers by one point.