Thank you to Mark Easton for all the time and effort he put in to producing this series which has summarised the past 20 years, taking us through various era's and bringing us some great interview with former players.
His final piece - last season, 2016/17.
Interview: Jacob Johnston - https://soundcloud.com/user-452609960/jacob-johnston-2
After a challenging 2015/16 the club needed relative stability and thankfully this was how it turned out with less injuries and no departures through the season.
The Caps decided to again change the coaching role with Riley Emmerson moving on and being replaced by returning Czech defenceman Michal Dobron. Michal had previously been at the club from 2012-14 and was one of the finest Dmen to play for the team. He was now returning as Player Coach having been coaching back in his homeland. From the previous campaign returning Brits Jay King, Tyler Plews and Sean Beattie all had gained valuable experience after seeing a lot of ice time towards the end of the 2015-16 season.
In goals backups Kevin Forshall and Craig Mallinson returned along with up and coming stopper Jordan McLaughlin who stepped in over the festive period for a few games to cover for injuries. Towards the end of the year Jordan Marr signed after being released from Hull Pirates in the EPL. Starting goalie was former Braehead Clan stopper Travis Fullerton. Fully had played for the Clan in season 2015-16 as injury cover and made a lasting impression. He came in fresh wanting to prove he could be a top goalie in this league and that he showed with some top performances.
On the back end we saw the return of top Canadian offensive Dman Jacob Johnston. Jake was named as club captain and he felt he had unfinished business after picking up a season ending injury mid way through the year before. Mike D'Orazio arrived from Saint Mary's University and he had been a top prospect back in his junior days. Giant Jaroslav Hertel came in a few weeks into the season and he was a solid Czech Dman. Local Latvian Rihard Grigors was signed as injury cover but ended up featuring in almost half the games.
Pocket rocket Garrett Milan returned on the forward lines from the campaign previously and was joined by first year pro Matt Tipoff who also like D'Orazio arrived from St Mary's University. Canadian Mason Wilgosh was another stepping up from college hockey and was a feisty forward who wasnt' scared to get his nose dirty in the corners. Slovakian Karel Hromas arrived from France and he was a hard working strong forward. Taylor MacDougall like D'Orazio, Wilgosh and Tipoff was a player who was breaking into the pro ranks. "TMac" was a top face off specialist and was a great ambassador for the club off the ice as well as on it.
The experience in the roster on the forward lines came with former NHLers Pavel Vorobyev and Jared Staal. Vorobyev played in the NHL with Chicago Blackhawks 57 times and he lit the league up the first half of the season when he tore teams apart single handedly. Sadly a dip in form the second half saw the club struggle to pick up many wins. He did though finish as top scorer with 21 goals and 37 assists. Staal came from a very famous hockey family with his three brothers all playing in the NHL. Jared himself had played briefly in the show icing in 2 games with the Carolina Hurricanes. He was a big power forward who missed a spell in the season after picking up a nasty facial injury in an altracation with Braehead's Corey Cowick. Another Russian to feature was Yevgeni Fyodorov. Although reaching the veteran stage of his career he showed some glimpses of how good a player he was when teaming up with fellow countryman Vorobyev. Toughness came in the shape of Canadian forward Ian Schultz. Schultzy had an up and down season picking up a number of injuries but when fit and on the ice he showed what a top player he was finishing with 20 goals to his name. He only dropped the gloves once when he took on Flyers Tommy Muir towards the end of the season. Young Harry Ferguson was a shining light stepping up from the junior system to play in 34 games. Mr Edinburgh Capitals himself Martin Cingel was signed as injury cover also and played in 4 games and how can we ever forget that night when he stood centre ice with a smile from ear to ear as the fans sang his famous song "Cingel Bells"
On league duty sadly it was bottom spot for the club once again. Consistency was something we lacked and could just not find a run of form to lift us above Coventry Blaze. We won 16 games out of 52. Cardiff Devils won the EIHL title. The Play Off crown went to Sheffield Steelers after an epic final beating the Devils in double overtime 6-5. For the first time in the Caps history the club qualified for the Quarter Finals of the Challenge Cup when we faced Sheffield Steelers but sadly lost over the contest having drawn 2-2 here at Murrayfield in the 1st leg. Cardiff lifted the trophy beating Sheffield in the final.
Sean Beattie won British Player of the Year with Travis Fullerton picking up Player of the Year. Overall the key wwas to keep the team together throughout and this was a success and with a little bit luck here and there we could have won a few more games and moved up the table but sadly it just wasn't to be.
You can read interviews from past players from the 2016-17 season and all other years at my website - www.eastycatchesupwith.wordpress.com
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