New arrival Les Reaney can’t wait to get his Edinburgh Capitals career up and running, beginning tomorrow night when the Caps travel to Tayside to face-off against Dundee Stars in the Challenge Cup.
The Canadian, who has missed the first three weeks of the new ice hockey season after a mix-up with his visa, touched down in Scotland yesterday and comes to Edinburgh from America’s Central Hockey League, where he was a former All-Star and has spent the last five years building up a reputation as a big-game player.
Signed by the Caps last month to provide another attacking threat and a much-needed physical presence, Reaney said: “It makes it tough when you’re supposed to be somewhere and you’re 3000 miles away just waiting for a piece of paper, but it is what it is. I’m here now and I’ll just have to catch up and go from there.”
The 29-year-old, who in the CHL averaged just under a point a point a game, and picked up 399 minutes in penalties, added: “I’ve always been looking to come to Europe. It’s been a grind in the Central League the last couple of years, and I’m not going to be playing forever. I want to see the world and when the opportunity came to play in a place like Edinburgh I thought I should take it. I’m excited to be here, and I’ll be making the most of it. Hopefully, I can put the puck in the net, help the team, and contribute as much as I can whilst having some fun doing it.
“I’ve spoken to past team-mates that have been over here, like Colt King, who played in Sheffield. He told me the hockey here is not that different to what I’m used to, and as European leagues go it’s the closest in style to the way we play in North America. I know it’s still a little bit of rough and tough and I’m looking forward to it.”
Reaney warned fans not to expect too much too soon, admitting it may take him a little time to be at full match fitness. He said: “I’m going to be a little off-beat. I’ve probably only skated for seven days in the last three weeks. Back home guys were leaving (for the new season) and it was tough to find ice time. I was in Rochester, New York, where I now live and I don’t actually know a lot of people there, but it’s hockey and I’m sure I’ll pick up everything fast.”
Capitals follow on from tomorrow’s trip to Dundee for whom former Edinburgh sniper Marcis Zembergs makes his debut after signing on a temporary contract this week as injury cover for Mike Wirll. Their second Challenge Cup match of the weekend, at home to Braehead Clan (face-off 6pm) on Sunday. And, having lost all three of their previous games in the competition, they need two positive results to realistically have a chance of qualification to the quarter-final stage.
Against the Stars, Edinburgh, who lost 3-0 at home to the same opposition last Sunday, will be without Jan Safar. Jeff Hutchins will also be missing after earlier this week receiving a four-game ban for checking to the head after Capitals’ back-room staff sent video footage of the incident to the Elite League disciplinary committee for review.
Also out will be Caps’ influential forward Curtis Leinweber, the club revealing he is at least three weeks away from recovering from a groin strain, whilst Tomas Horna is expected to start despite a broken finger picked up in last Saturday’s 5-3 win over Hull Stingrays.