Former Edinburgh Capitals owner Scott Neil has spoken for the first time since the city’s ice hockey team lost its contract for the rink at Murrayfield, thanking fans for their continued support and expressing disappointment that the franchise will not play in the Elite League next season.
Edinburgh will not have a professional team at the highest level of Britain’s ice hockey leagues after Racers Leisure Ltd, who won the ice time off the Caps for Murrayfield last month, had their application for Elite League membership rejected earlier this week.
The Caps had moved to a new parent company and business model in attempt to revive their fortunes, but they will not be involved in the Elite League as they are essentially homeless without a deal with the city’s rink.
In a statement on the Caps’ website, Neil said: “I would just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported the Edinburgh Capitals over the last 20 years. This includes all the volunteers, players, staff, sponsors and fans.
“We all fought so hard to develop and maintain the best standard of ice hockey possible and whilst it would have been easy to drop and play at a lower level, it was never something I would entertain.
“Edinburgh should be an Elite League city and I am bitterly disappointed that the new Edinburgh Capitals board were not given the opportunity to try and move the club forward.
“I admit that mistakes have been made, especially this year, but they were honest mistakes made with the intention to recruit a squad capable of winning at least the Gardiner conference. We all thought the change in recruitment direction this season would have led to more on-ice success, but it just did not work out that way. It was always going to be a risk but at the time it was one worth taking to try and break the mould of consistently bad seasons.
“We have all juggled and sacrificed time, money, resources and lifestyles to try and maintain an EIHL team in Edinburgh and it is heartbreaking to see the best business plan, with the best people and the highest committed funding ever, being rejected from attempting to back an underdog club and challenge in the EIHL once again. Our robust and sensible three-year business plan would have provided an opportunity and a chance for the team to flourish.
“There are some innocent victims in all this. George Ferdinando signed his name to a new company in November to make sure the Capitals kept playing on the ice. A tremendous amount of work was done in a short space of time to secure the continuation of games and a lot was being done behind the scenes to ensure a more prosperous and stable future for the Capitals going forward.
“There will be no knee-jerk reactions or bad decisions made to try and secure ice elsewhere to continue playing. There will be a desire to work in the background to revive the Capitals’ fortunes going forward.
“It’s been an amazing journey and I sincerely hope that this isn’t game over. Once again I want to express my sincerest gratitude for all the support that I have been given over the last 20 years. Without you, the fans, volunteers, players, staff, and sponsors none of this would have been possible at all.”