Murrayfield Racers will be without head coach Tony Hand and three key players for tonight’s Stuart Robertson Cup final first-leg away to North Ayrshire Wild.
But, they will focus on “playing a tight game” according to assistant coach Jock Hay who is keen for fans to play their part in tomorrow’s return leg at Murrayfield (face-off 6pm) as Racers, this year’s Scottish National League Champions, look to pick up their second trophy of the season.
Star forward Callum Boyd is suspended, whilst dynamic 16-year old defenceman Ethan Reid is in Budapest with the GB Under-18 team, currently playing in Division 1B of the World Championships, alongside Hand and Racers’ Slovakian winger Martin Cingel who are both part of the off-ice team. GB play their final game of the tournament today against Italy and Reid could feature in tomorrow’s return leg, whilst Boyd will play after serving his two-game suspension picked up in last month’s play-off final’s weekend.
Hay said: “Even if we had been at full strength it would be a question of making sure we play well defensively, but with guys out, it’s very important we go there and keep things tight, and make sure we bring back something that allows us to finish it off at Murrayfield.
“With no games to play (since last month’s play-off finals, which saw Racers lose their first game of the season in a 5-0 final defeat to Paisley Pirates) it’s just been a question of making sure we keep their legs going – we had a good hard practice last night. The game plan hasn’t changed all season, the boys know what they need to do.”
SNL teams can ice two imports in any game, and in Cingel’s absence countryman and former Edinburgh Capitals player-coach Richard Hartmann will play.
Hay continued: “We’re very lucky to have a player of Richard’s experience staying in Edinburgh, he’s always happy to help out, and with Martin not having been on the ice for the last couple of weeks the plan is for Richard to play both games.
“Our fans have been great for us, especially in the second half of the season. We were all very disappointed in how we played last time out. Perhaps it was down to tiredness but we were very flat. Hopefully our supporters have missed their hockey these last couple of weeks and will get right behind us.”