Murrayfield Racers will become the first Edinburgh team in five years to lift the Scottish National League trophy should they claim two wins this weekend.
And experienced forward Sean Donaldson insists “there’s more at stake” this time around than when he enjoyed similar success with the Edinburgh Capitals’ SNL outfit as the top points scorer in their treble-winning 2013-14 season.
Racers face off at North Ayrshire Wild on Saturday night, before travelling to Solway Stingrays on Saturday. They know four points will see them crowned champions ahead of their final league game of the season at home to Kilmarnock Thunder in two weeks time.
With no professional ice hockey currently in Edinburgh, all eyes are on Racers’ exploits in the amateur ranks and Donaldson said: “The SNL is definitely more competitive now. The players we’re up against are of a higher standard.
“With it being the highest level of hockey in the city, it’s higher profile. The team’s run more professionally, we have more fans and get more coverage. It feels like there is more at stake and the potential reward feels greater as a result.”
With a Stuart Robertson Cup final to look forward to, a 6-0 aggregate lead in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup, and a favourable draw assured in the end-of-season play-offs, Racers could win as many as four trophies in what has so far been an unbeaten season in all SNL competitions.
Thirty-one-year-old Donaldson, who also iced 30 times in the UK-wide Elite League, returned to the sport earlier this season after a two-year break, continued: “I didn’t play last season, and only part of the season before that due to family commitments. I felt like I have some unfinished business and I didn’t feel ready to call it a day. When the opportunity to play with the Racers came about and the higher-profile set-up that it offered was in place, I really wanted to be involved.
“I came in during the season but, for the rest of the team, this has been months of hard work. This is the finish line, the final hurdle. If we can get this done it means we can enjoy our homecoming in our last game against Kilmarnock, and then focus on the rest of the competitions and try to win them as well.”