Belfast Giants netminder Tyler Beskorowany didn’t expect to be looking forward to a cup final after taking some time out of the game – but is delighted to be where he is.
The 28-year-old took an 18-month sabbatical in 2016 due to wear and tear, returning to action when he joined Edinburgh Capitals in January 2017 for their final months in the Elite League.
And after an incredible season for him personally and for the team, he’s enjoying what he reckons is his best year.
“After the time out I had, I probably didn’t expect to be in a position where I’m talking to you looking ahead to a cup final,” Beskorowany said.
“How I felt last season to be here, I’m happy with where I am and how I got here and it’s what I work and train for and to do it would be amazing.
“This is probably one of the better years I’ve ever had as a player and I’m very pleased at how it’s all gone.
“Personally, I’m pleased with my numbers too, but it’s a team effort and my team-mates block a lot of shots for me. They make my job easier.”
Beskorowany reflected on his brief time at Edinburgh Capitals last season, which was to be their final season in the Elite League after they lost their tender for ice time to the resurrected Murrayfield Racers.
He says it was the ideal team to play for as he felt his way back into the game following his time out and hopes to see them back in the EIHL soon.
But he’s excited about what may happen in the next few weeks as the season lines up for an exciting climax, starting with Sunday’s Challenge Cup Final with Guildford Flames.
He added: “When I came back, I really didn’t want to go to a team competing in finals where there was pressure on them. Edinburgh was perfect for what I needed in getting fit and the ice time I needed to get back into it.
“Going there, I don’t think it was an easy sell for (Mike) D’Orazio, considering they were having a poor season and the last coach had just left. The biggest thing was the city definitely. It was an amazing place and one of the nicest cities I’ve been to in Europe.
“That really caught my attention in being able to go there and there wasn’t any pressure on them as they’d fallen out of the play-offs and winning and losing wasn’t as critical compared to maybe the other teams. It was the perfect scenario.
“When the club had to leave the league, it was disappointing to see and a city like that, with the die hard fans that followed them deserve another crack at the Elite League again.
“Looking ahead, everything we’ve accomplished as a team in Belfast and what we could achieve is exciting.
“We’ve got the Challenge Cup Final on Sunday plus where we are in the league, then the play-offs after, it’s been fantastic.
“This isn’t an easy trophy to win and you can get a feel of how big it would be to do it again. It goes to show with a team like Cardiff not being involved how competitive it is.
“To be here and for some of the other guys, to be here for the second year in a row, it would be a big thing to do again and a great accomplishment.”