Well-travelled ice hockey defenceman and recent Edinburgh Capitals addition Brent Patry may have only been in the city a matter of weeks, but already he understands the importance attached to their only game of the weekend, tomorrow’s clash with Gardiner Conference rivals Dundee Stars at Murrayfield.
Caps, who have seen a return to form, winning four of their last five fixtures in the ten-strong league, currently sit in ninth place. With only four points separating Dundee in seventh and bottom club Hull Stingrays, the race for a top-eight finish and an end of season play-off spot is heating up.
Patry said: “Certainly the teams at the lower end of the table are the ones we need to beat, as they’re the ones we need to catch. This weekend is huge for us. It’s a four-point game that could have massive implications at the end of the season.”
“It’s crucial to keep this good run going. Tomas (net-minder Hiadlovsky) especially has been fantastic and sometimes we’ve been relying on him a little too much.”
Before joining up with Edinburgh in late November – where, come January, he will be combining hockey with studying for his Masters in Finance – the 29-year-old Canadian has spent the majority of his career playing in the Netherlands, France and Italy. Last season he turned out for Chamonix in the French top-flight alongside ex-Capitals sniper Simon Lambert and was the Ligue Magnus’ top-scoring defenceman with 15 goals and 23 assists.
Patry revealed that Lambert, who he also played with at college, was a huge factor in bringing him to Edinburgh.
He explained: “He’s one of my best friends, so he was obviously the first guy I turned to.
“I was talking to the Capitals in the summertime with a view to continuing my schooling. I decided to take a different direction, but the opportunity came about again and I decided to jump on it. Simon had great things to say about the city and some very good things to say about the organisation, the players and the staff. It seemed like a great fit.”
“The city has been great. Downtown is very nice, especially around this time of year, with the Christmas market and everything. It can be a little busy with all the people there and a little overwhelming at times, but it’s really enjoyable to be out here.”
“It’s such a neat experience for me to be able to live in so many different countries and see the world and that’s half the reason why I’m over here.”
Patry, who only met his new teammates a few hours before his first game for the club, has slotted into a defensive partnership with Slovakian Michal Benadik and admits that joining a team mid-season is not always the easiest thing to do.
He said: “You’re coming into a situation where everybody already knows one another. It can be difficult in those first few days walking in and being the ‘new guy’. At the same time the guys have been fantastic, my first few weeks here have been great. I’ve made some firm friendships already and I’m excited to get going for the rest of the season.”
For tomorrow’s match-up, Edinburgh will still be without injured forward Jade Portwood. He is back practising with the team, but is not expected to be match fit for another two weeks, while Dundee will be sweating on the fitness of Finnish sharp-shooter Sami Ryhanen and blue-liner Doug Krantz.
Meanwhile, Caps goalie Hiadlovsky – who last week stopped 66 of 70 shots in wins over Nottingham Panthers and Braehead Clan – has been rewarded after being voted Elite League player of the week. It’s the first time this season that an Edinburgh player has been recognised in this way.