Fin­nerty glad Fly­ers rink will fi­nally ‘be brought in­to1900s’ after brawl

The Herald - Herald Sport - - COMMENT -

BRAE­HEAD CLAN head coach Ryan Fin­nerty has wel­comed Elite League sanc­tions that he be­lieves will bring the Fife Fly­ers’ home rink into ‘the 1900s’.

The hos­tile Kirk­caldy venue, which was first opened in 1938, wit­nessed a flash­point last Satur­day when a bust-up was sparked be­tween a home fan be­hind the Manch­ester Storm bench and vis­it­ing player Eric Neil­son.

As a re­sult, the Cana­dian re­ceived a three-match ban and Manch­ester a sus­pended £5000 fine.

Fly­ers were hit with a sim­i­lar pun­ish­ment for fail­ing to con­trol their fans while be­ing or­dered to in­crease se­cu­rity and in­stall plex­i­glass for the new sea­son.

Hav­ing been the tar­get of abuse and ‘ban­ter’ over the years, it is a mea­sure Fin­nerty is re­luc­tantly pleased to see in­tro­duced, and said: “I can see why they do it, but at the end of the day th­ese guys are hu­mans, they are not an­i­mals.

“Some­thing was bound to hap­pen and un­for­tu­nately it had to hap­pen that way. The league stepped in and they sus­pended the area and put some re­stric­tions on Fife to bring their build­ing into the 1900s. Just get some sep­a­ra­tion, that’s all they need to do.

“It’s a great ri­valry be­tween us and there have been a num­ber of cases where I’ve given tick­ets to Fife fans, we’ve done a lot for each other. There’s a tonne of good peo­ple there.

“We just don’t want to see it cross the line be­cause if that hap­pens again it’s a real se­ri­ous is­sue.”

Fin­nerty’s com­ments come as the Fly­ers leave the Fife Ice Arena and come to Brae­head on Satur­day night for their lat­est Elite League match up.

His sen­ti­ments were also echoed by Clan hockey di­rec­tor Gareth Chalmers, who added: “We have dis­cussed it quite a lot. We made our feel­ings clear to the league on a few oc­ca­sions.

“It’s a dif­fi­cult one for both the club and the player.

“You don’t want to see any player lose his job and the sus­pen­sion is right, and with the sit­u­a­tion with the bench and the plex­i­glass I think it’s the right de­ci­sion.

“I’ve cer­tainly flagged it up to the league a few times that when we are in there it’s a pretty hos­tile ri­valry. A ri­valry is good but I think there is a line crossed at times.

“Ryan has had a cou­ple of ex­pe­ri­ences there and in to­day’s game you should have glass be­hind the play­ers. At this level, we need to have that pro­tec­tion for the play­ers.”

FIN­NERTY: The Clan head coach thinks plex­i­glass up­grades are long over­due in Kirk­caldy

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