New Edinburgh Capitals player-coach Riley Emmerson today revealed he is already close to “locking down” the signature of two big-name players he believes will show the city they mean business when the new ice hockey season begins in September
Emmerson, speaking from his home in Canada in his first interview after being confirmed as the club’s new coach yesterday, said: “We’re talking to a couple of big names right now, which I’m really excited about.
“Hopefully, we can get them locked down quickly because when we get them on board it’ll be a statement to our fans that we’re here to change the culture in Edinburgh, and this year we’re here to win.”
Edinburgh have missed out on the play-offs in four of the last five seasons and Emmerson continued: “We’re going to build a team with a lot of speed, but ultimately we’ll combine that with size and skill. There are a couple of guys (from last season) that we’re still talking with, and we’ve already re-signed Kyle Flemington, which is great news for the club.”
Emmerson, who had a ten-year professional career in North America before making the switch to Edinburgh as a player last season, believes that although he will be classed as a rookie in the coaching stakes, he has picked up enough experience to make an immediate impact.
“I’m very excited,” said Emmerson. “This is going to be a great challenge and something I’m really looking forward to. I’m delighted to be back in Edinburgh and I see this as an opportunity to really grow the sport of hockey in this city.
“I’ve been an assistant player-coach in my time in the East Coast Hockey League and coached from the bench before – both when I was with Utah and Arizona. I also ran hockey schools in the summer. I’ve learned a lot throughout my career and this opportunity gives me a chance to expand on that. This is a big year for me, I’m turning 30 and it’s all about proving myself as a coach.
“I’m excited to work with our young Scottish players. I really hope we hold on to the likes of Jay King, Callum Boyd and Sean Beattie.
“Guys will get to know that with me – practice is about getting better every day. The imports I’m wanting to bring in will have a big part to play in developing our local players. The more we can get out of them, the more minutes we can give them on the ice and that’s really going to help us as a team. Our practice will be high intensity. I want to see our young guys challenging our imports every day, it’s what will make them better players and get us all into game shape quickly. If all goes well, when I’m eventually done playing I hope to have built up my CV enough that I can look for a coaching role back here in Canada. Right now, it’s all about the Capitals and making them a better team year on year.”
Emmerson, who is expected to be based in his Vancouver home until August, is also keen to grow the stature of the club both off the ice as much as on it.
Prior to coming to Edinburgh, he had a reputation as someone who fronted his team’s projects in the community, and he said: “On top of working with (Capitals co-owner) Scott Neil in putting this team together, I’m going to be working here in the summer, but once back in Edinburgh one of my main goals this year will be getting this team out in the community, get our players out there visiting schools and hospitals, and chatting to the media.
“If we want to promote hockey in Edinburgh, we’ve got to be constantly out there.
“I just can’t wait for the season to start – it’s going to be great.”