Neil misses Hogmanay showdowns

Scott Neil misses the Hogmanay games between his Edinburgh Capitals side and Fife Flyers (PHOTO: Courtesy of Fife Today)

Up until a couple of years ago, fans of Edinburgh Capitals and Fife Flyers would have been preparing to meet up at Murrayfield for some Elite League before going off to see in the New Year.

The fans definitely miss it, but so does Caps former general manager Scott Neil as he looked back on the annual game which took place every Hogmanay between 2011 and 2017.

“The Hogmanay games with Fife Flyers were our biggest games of the year,” Neil told The Herald. “Even at the beginning of the season, they were games we worked hard to prepare for.  Financially and emotionally, it was the one both teams wanted to win to end the old year in the best way.

“They were always great matches because the players loved to play in them.  We had a big crowd in as well and it was just such an exciting event to be part of.  The rivalry with Fife was a long standing thing, but this one seemed to go a little above that.

“Edinburgh’s a special place to be on New Year’s Eve and I think fans liked the early face off, which would be around 2pm, then go on and enjoy the celebrations once they watched the hockey.

Fife Flyers won six out of seven Hogmanay clashes with Edinburgh Capitals (PHOTO: Ian Coyle)

“When I think back, I think it was me who came up with the idea.  We had discussions with the management and the team and with New Year’s Eve being such a special day, we wanted to do something with it.

“Edinburgh is a busy city on that particular day so we thought it would be a good idea and that it would catch on and did so very quickly.”

The Capitals left the league in 2018 after being ousted from their Murrayfield home by Murrayfield Racers, who were given the contract for ice time at the Caps’ expense, which meant they could no longer compete.

As a result, Neil, a former player with Capitals and ironically, Racers before them, found himself without a club to work.  Since then, he’s dabbled in a few business interests, but he’s never spoken about the circumstances of the Capitals’ demise. He admits the Hogmanay game is one he misses though.

“Edinburgh-Fife games were always big events in their own way.  It was often good quality hockey played by players who had been in high quality leagues all over the world. It’s something I certainly miss as I look back, but time has moved on.”

“I have to give Fife credit for their role in this too.  Their fans, players and management bought into it and they played their part. It takes two teams to make an event like this and they helped.  The atmosphere was always good with interaction and it brought a lot of fans together.”

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