Edinburgh CAPITALS today announced that player-coach Richard Hartmann has penned an extension to his current deal that will keep him at the club until the end of their 2013-14 Elite League ice hockey campaign.
Team co-owner Scott Neil hailed the experienced Slovakian as the “perfect coach” for the Caps as they build towards next season and beyond.
A delighted Neil said: “In many ways, Richard is the perfect player-coach for Edinburgh, not just from the quality of his play, but also from the knowledge, experience and ethos that he brings to the club.
“He is a coach who believes in development and is keen to work on that aspect to produce quality Edinburgh players for the future. Richard has gained the respect of all at the club and we are keen to all work hard to provide as good a platform as possible for Richard to develop the team into 2013 and the 13/14 season.
“For players who are willing to work hard and listen I have every confidence that Richard can help make even experienced players better hockey players, and he is a great role model who sets a good example and standard to our up and coming squad.”
Next season will be Hartmann’s third as player-coach since joining the Murrayfield outfit in 2011, prior to which in a 17-year career he made over 600 appearances in Slovakia’s top flight, North America and Germany.
Hartmann, who has posted eight goals and 13 assists in a 12-game point streak dating back to January 6, said: “I love Edinburgh, the fans and all the lads here. I enjoy my work, especially with the younger players, we’ve started some work on the junior programme which I’m really pleased about and I’m excited to be given another chance next year.”
Hartmann intimated that there were players in the current line-up who he’d love to see follow suit and extend their stay in Edinburgh but at present everyone involved with the Caps is focusing on this season and their bid to make a first play-off appearance in three years.
He added: “For sure there are players that we’d like to sign, and we’re talking about it, but at the moment we are all one hundred percent focused on this season. With the league so tight we need a strong finish if we are to make the play-offs.”
In a tough weekend of fixtures, Edinburgh travel to Yorkshire tomorrow for a tilt against third-placed Sheffield Steelers, before returning Sunday for a home clash with top-of-the- table Nottingham Panthers (face-off 6pm).
Home-grown forward Neil Hay believes that Edinburgh, who have won five of their last six games, including four straight at home, have nothing to fear against the two English power-houses of UK hockey and said: “All our games against Sheffield this year have been very close, if we stick to our system and put in another good performance against them we’ll give ourselves a chance.
“Nottingham is always difficult, but if we play the way we’ve been playing at home over the last four to six weeks we can do well, especially on our big ice.
“Panthers have a good defence but the strongest part of their game is their forward play so one of the worst things we can do is sit-back and allow them to dictate the game, we will need to attack and take the game to them as much as we can.”
In the chase for the championship, Nottingham currently have a two-point advantage and a game in hand over second placed, and last year’s league winners, Belfast Giants, with Sheffield a further three points behind. Edinburgh currently lie seventh, two points behind Fife Flyers, who entertain Nottingham in Kirkcaldy tomorrow night.