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