Fife Flyers and Kirkcaldy Ice Hockey Club (KIHC) are joining forces to launch an Elite Academy to properly prepare junior ice hockey players for the demands of the Elite League demands.
It’s a venture that brings positive news to the club and the area after a barren 12 months without any on-ice action due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is due to begin in the new season and will create a partnership between coaches of both organisations as they work to develop young talent in Fife.
New KIHC chairman Daryl Venters, a former Fife Flyers player, has made it a key objective and explained a little of how it’s going to work.
“I approached Todd Dutiaume to look at how we could better prepare our young players for the demands of the Elite League,” Venters said.
“Part of the Academy Programme will include chaperoning where the members will spend time at matches analysing games and training where they will break down plays to build up Elite Hockey IQ.
“We also will include training for our coaches with both the current Flyers and other European coaches.”
The Elite Academy will identify players aged 14 to 18 with the attitude and skills to become players with the Fife Flyers.
As they progress through the Academy, they will initially train with their respective age group up to the Kirkcaldy Kestrels, where they will join that team and train with the Fife Flyers players.
Running parallel with that will be necessary strength and conditioning as well as education on nutrition and condition programmes, which is key for all players competing at the highest level.
Fife Flyers Head Coach Todd Dutiaume says it’s something they’re keen to do as the demands of the top flight are a little different to what they were before.
“We’re keen to provide a route that allows young players to develop the key skills both on and off the ice,” Dutiaume added.
“Graduating from the Elite Academy, the young players should be well prepared to ice for the Elite Ice Hockey League’s demands and beyond.
“British players competing in the league need to be bigger, faster and stronger than was once the case. This isn’t something that starts when you join the team, that process has to start in early teens.”