MURRAYFIELD Racers legend Tony Hand MBE has invited ice hockey coaches and players to a meeting tomorrow where he plans to outline his vision for the future of the sport in Edinburgh.
Underpinning the move is Hand’s desire to develop young British talent. Open trials will be held on dates yet to be confirmed.
Edinburgh-born Hand, who will be director of hockey for Racers, said: “Murrayfield Racers were once Britain’s most decorated team and I was privileged to play for the club.
“They have now been reborn and this is a new era for ice hockey at the rink. And we’ve pledged to showcase the highest level of hockey possible next season. The recruitment process begins now.”
Racers have the ice contract at Murrayfield next season – beating the now-defunct Edinburgh Capitals to the rights – however, their bid to join the UK-wide Elite League was rejected .
Instead, they have been entered into the Scottish National League (SNL) and will also compete in the National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) North Cup which, according to Hand, is a big step up from the SNL.
Billingham Stars, Blackburn Hawks, Hull Pirates, Sheffield Steeldogs and Telford Tigers join the Solway Sharks and Racers in the NIHL cup competition. Racers will play one home game and one away fixture in the North Cup against each other team before two legged semi-finals and a final.
On Friday’s meeting, Hand said: “We’ve invited coaches and players from the SNL and under-20 teams as well as other teams playing out of Murrayfield. We want to discuss with them the best way forward for the sport in the Capital.
“Time is short and we have a lot of work to do, but we have been working hard behind the scenes over the past few months.
“We’re happy to take any questions at the meeting as we plan to move forward in a totally transparent way.
“This is a key meeting but we feel it is vital that we give ambitious, young British players a pathway to the top of the sport in this country.”