While the Edinburgh Capitals have never really had a winning season, in my mind, they are doing wonders for the development of UK hockey and hockey in Scotland. This theory may not be a popular one for many but I feel it needs to be looked at.
Being in the Elite league for the past nine years, the Capitals have taken an odd route to their style of play compared to their club mates. Adopting a more European style, the club has very rarely used imports from North America. In fact, there may be only two or three on the roster from Canada right now. A few other imports have mostly come from the Czech Republic or Slovakia including an all Slovak coaching system.
The rest of the team is made up of all Scots. I think that is phenomenal. Edinburgh, whether they realize it or not, are developing Scottish and UK players more then their club mates. By focusing on building a truly European team, these players will be able to take their games to the next level; the international level. Again, whether they know it or not, I would love being a Scottish hockey player knowing I have a chance to make a team and that my job won’t be replaced by an import with a hockey resume that’s ten feet long.
To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best; a mantra I’ve said many times before. I wouldn’t be surprised if five years down the line the Capitals will be a force to be reckoned with. They are playing against teams whose rosters are mostly filled with imports who have an already established hockey background and have more often than not had the taste of victory. Yes, all of their top scorers are either Czech or Slovak but the skills and experience the rest of the team are going to get from them is nothing short of extraordinary.
By having more Europeans then North Americans on the team too forces the Scots and other UK players on the team to adopt more stick and puck handling skills. We all know North American hockey is more physical in play, the aforementioned skills is where they will eventually have the one up and will be able to make a decent stab at a living playing hockey in Europe.
Maybe it’s the fact that I like rooting for the underdog. Maybe my theory is a little blown up out of proportion. The Edinburgh Capitals are in the midst of turning this train around and building something worthwhile. Whether it’s in the Elite League for UK hockey, I think they’re doing something right.