Hand looks to the future after Racers success

(PHOTO: Ian Coyle)

Murrayfield Racers coach Tony Hand says the club are keeping their options open for next season after winning the Scottish National League title at the weekend.

The Edinburgh side’s first season will end with a trophy in the cabinet after Saturday’s 11-6 win over North Ayrshire Wild and Kirkcaldy Kestrels’ 5-0 loss at Aberdeen Lynx confirmed the success.

And Hand wasn’t in a position to confirm what they’re looking to do right now, but reckons they’ll have a better idea in a month or so.

“Basically we want to play at the highest level we can, which is the biggest thing for us,” he said. “It goes without saying we have to be a viable business and as everyone knows, it’s not cheap to run an ice hockey club.

“We have to make sure whatever league we’re in, it’s beneficial for the club and the organisation and we want to be in a situation where the fans are excited to come along and watch.

“We’ll wait to see what’s happening in the various leagues, but once we know that, we’ll be in a better position to know.  Right now, we just want to improve every year and that’s our key objective on and off the ice.

“But I reckon within the next month, we’ll know better about what’s going on and what we want to do.”

Racers’ return to the sport was certainly a memorable one as they clinched the SNL title at their first attempt, with two games left of the regular season to go.

Hand heaped praise on his players for delivering the league, admitting their target for the season changed early.

And the former GB head coach reckons attitudes are changing towards them and insists they’re here to deliver a team the Scottish capital can be proud of.

Murrayfield Racers are SNL champions, but what could the future hold for them? (PHOTO: Ian Coyle)

He added: “We want to fans to be entertained when we come here and anyone is welcome to come and watch us.  We don’t ostracise anyone and after a year, there’s been a change in attitude and a realisation we’re here for the long term.

“It’s not about big egos. We want to do well and give Edinburgh a team they’re proud to watch, not to mention give the players a chance to play.

“For us, it was a good first season, that’s for sure.  There were a lot of tough games along the way, but I’m pleased to get it over the line and win the title in our first season.

“The players deserved a lot of credit and it was a season where we started out just wanting to have a good season, but soon, we realised we had an opportunity to go and win it.

“From there, it was about keeping the guys focussed and we got the job done and the progress we’ve made over the last year around the club is great and everyone working around the club, including the fans, have worked to help achieve that.”

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