It’s a well-versed phrase in sport that when a new signing arrives at a club, they are aiming to continue their education on the field of play.
In the case of Dennis Rix and Greg Collins, Edinburgh Capitals’ latest recruits, it’s a case of broadening their knowledge off the ice rink as well as on it.
Both Rix and Collins are taking advantage of the club’s links with Heriot-Watt University and admit that the chance to continue their studies was a big factor in making the move to Edinburgh.
Canadian Rix, 25, who is playing as a professional for the first time this season, turned down contracts from North America to make the move and said: “I love the city. In fact, I’ve never seen anything like it. Greg and I have already been exploring areas like the Grassmarket and Princes Street, its fantastic and I’m really happy to be here.”
“I spent four years at Michigan Tech and when given the opportunity to continue my education and play in such a great city there was no reason why I wouldn’t do it. It’s a big part of the reason why I’m here, education is so important, I simply couldn’t refuse.”
American Collins, 28, who is working towards his MBA in Marketing, has spent the last three seasons playing in Europe and comes to Edinburgh after a stellar year in the Netherlands, where he scored 100 points in 47 games for HYS The Hague.
Collins feels the bigger European rinks suit his style of play and said: “I’ve been over in Europe for three years now. It fits my game better as there is more room out there. There’s less dump and chase like you get in North America – instead you have just that little bit of time you need to make a play.
“To be able to play professionally and continue your education, you can’t get that anywhere else.”
It’s not just the delights of the Capital that have caught the eye of Caps’ new signings. Despite only having two practice sessions together, a new-look Capitals team remained unbeaten winning one and drawing the other in their two-game home-and-away series with Gardiner Conference rivals Dundee Stars. Rix has been impressed by the quality of his new team-mates and expects the Murrayfield outfit to be competitive when the action gets under way for real on Sunday when Edinburgh host Belfast Giants in their season opener.
“I like our team so far,” added Rix. “We have a lot of grit, strength and toughness, plus a lot of skill too, so we have a great foundation to build from, and the two games we played last weekend was a great start for us.”
Rix and Collins launched the club’s new strip yesterday at Leith’s Central Bar with the help of returning shirt sponsor Breken Inns.
Breken Inns, who own a number of pubs in the city, including the Central Bar, are now in their third season as Capitals’ official shirt sponsor, and company director Kenny McLean, who has sponsored ice hockey in Edinburgh for more than 30 years, said: “The club seem to have moved on a bit from last year, and early indications would suggest that we will have a stronger team out on the ice, which is great news for everybody involved.
“The club and I have been discussing what it would mean to really make our mark this season and our ultimate goal would be to make the Finals Weekend. On top of the sponsorship, we’re putting together a bonus scheme for the players just to give them that wee bit extra financial incentive to get there.”