Fife Flyers found a new way to entertain their fans as they treated their fans to some live action off the ice.
In conjunction with the Fife Free Press, the players and coaching staff provided laughs, stories and even rapping to local venue, Styx in Kirkcaldy with a live show which went down well with the Flyers faithful.
And Fife Free Press editor Allan Crow, who presented the night along with local broadcaster Ali McLaren and Flyers forward Bari McKenzie, is hoping to make it regular part of Fife’s off-ice calendar.
“It was a great night in a packed room and the players all really enjoyed telling some stories from the dressing room,” Allan said.
“We decorated the stage with some old kit, skates and the original supporters’ drum, just to give it a bit of a hockey feel.
“The fans loved hearing the guys’ stories and we had some fun as well. For example, I dug out my album of programmes from 1999, and Bari grilled Todd about a player interview he did in which he revealed his favourite band was a Canadian group called ‘Big Sugar’.
“The same season also happened to have photos of him in a charity fashion show, including one in his dressing gown.
“The feedback from it has been fantastic and we’ve had lots of positive tweets the morning after which shows how much everyone enjoyed it.
“Right now, the plan is to do another one in January and perhaps again in February and make it a regular part of the off-ice calendar.”
Joining Allan, Ali and Bari on stage were Dylan Quaile, Paul Crowder, Carlo Finucci, Scott Aarssen and new captain James Livingston, plus Flyers coach Todd Dutiaume.
Forward Chase Schaber also had the whole team up for his closing rap which was a call for fans to get rinkside for this weekend’s game, when Flyers take on Manchester Storm.
For Allan, it was an idea that had been rattling round his head for some time as he looked to bring the Flyers passionate fans and the team together.
It turns out when he started to vocalise the idea, he found someone with a similar thought and from there, it grew arms and legs.
But in an era where clubs are blitzing social media accounts with videos to attract an audience and using podcasts as another avenue to engage with fans, Allan explained how such an old-fashioned concept worked so well.
He added: “I’d been keen to get a Hockey Show off the ground for a while, and spoke with Ali at the start of the season about doing it. Co-incidentally he’d had the same idea so we pooled resources and pitched it to the club.
“Our plan was always for a night of entertainment – a chance for the players to meet the fans, share some laughs and enjoy some stories from the dressing room and on the road, as well as hearing about their careers.
“The idea isn’t new, but it’s timeless.
“We sold it to the club and we had great backing from Todd straight away. In fact most of the night was scoped out as we chatted with him after a midweek game and didn’t get out of the rink until after 11.00pm. From those ideas, the format started to be fleshed out.
“Getting Bari McKenzie as co-host also gave us a direct link to the room and added so much to the night.
“The guys stepped into the unknown and rolled with it so well. They were all fantastic on stage. They quickly relaxed and the fact that almost the entire team was in the crowd meant they could also have some fun with them.
“Not filming it was a deliberate decision. Not just because we wanted the guys to relax and tell a few stories, but because we wanted to create a night where you HAD to be there to hear the banter.
“In an era of social media and podcasts, there’s still nothing to beat a live show and being in the room for it too.
“Sometimes it’s fun to put down your smart phone and just enjoy what happens on stage. Get players and fans together and you create not just a night of humour, but build some bonds which are hugely important to both.
“Overall we’re delighted with how it went and looking back, the night flew past.”