Edinburgh Capitals will be minus four key players as they seek their third-straight win over Sheffield Steelers in Yorkshire tonight.
While the ice hockey outfit aim to get back to full strength over the coming weeks, team-co-owner Scott Neil – who also coaches the clubs’ Scottish National League side – is urging the club’s young talent to “make the most of their increased responsibilities”.
With forwards Paul Zanette, Brandon Coccimiglio, Jordan Steel and David Rutherford – initially thought to have broken a hand during Sunday’s 2-1 loss at Braehead Clan – on the treatment table, Neil is urging the likes of Sean Beattie, who scored his first goal of the season in last week’s 4-3 comeback win over Cardiff Devils, and Callum Boyd, with two goals in his last five games, to continue their good form.
Boyd, Beattie, and teenage defenceman Jay King, who will ice for Great Britain Under-20s at the World Championships in France next week, are three of six local players signed to two-way contracts through the club’s academy system. This sees them split their time between the first team and the SNL side, and Neil said: “We just have to go down and do our best. We’re short of guys, and have been for a while now, and it’s not been easy.
“We’re hopeful Zanette will be back soon, Coccimiglio is a couple of weeks away yet, and we’ll soon know the extent of David’s injury. We do know that it’s not a break.
“There are other injuries it could be but we need to give it time to settle down before a full assessment can be made. It was a freak accident, a guy went to shoot, caught David with his stick and bent his wrist right back.
“We have a good group of young Brits here who need to step in, take their opportunity, and make the most of the increased responsibility.
“It was good to see Sean scoring his first goal and leading the fightback against Cardiff on Friday.
“They’re all young lads. Of our main five or six two-way players, the oldest is 22. We have two at 19 and one at 18.
“They’re improving all the time and it bodes well for the future.
“Jay King making the Great Britain Under-20s is a good indication of the success of our academy programme.
“We’ve done well to win games while we’ve had key players out and we’ll be looking to get back to full strength in time in time for Christmas and the second half of the season.”