Throwback Tuesday: Season 15-16

20 March 2018

Riley Emmerson Interview: https://soundcloud.com/user-452609960/riley-emmerson/s-M2f9l

If ever there was a season of two halves this was it. Up until late November the Caps sat 4th in the standings, then players departed and injuries saw the whole season fall apart from December onwards. The club had decided to part ways with coach Richard Hartmann during the summer of 2015 and this led to the return of fan favourite Riley Emmerson from the previous campaign who came in as Player Coach. Emmo was taking on the coaching role for the first time in his career but he was determined to prove he could cut it in the EIHL.

A strong roster was put together during the summer with Scott Neil and Emmerson bringing a wealth of experienced North Americans and a good mix of first season pro's. Tending the nets was former Belfast Giants stopper Carsen Chubak. Chubak had played a handful of games with the Giants the previous season and came in as the clubs number 1 netminder. Sadly injury was to hamper his season as he played a large chunk of the year in pain. Backing him up was the man set to retire on Sunday, Kevin Forshall, and young up and coming goalie Craig Mallinson.

Returnees from the 2014-15 campaign were British forwards Callum Boyd, Sean Beattie and defencemen Jay King and James Wallace. Canadian tough guy Kyle Flemington also returned after impressing with his willingness to take on the tough guys in the league. Veteran David Beatson was to play in his final season for the club ending a long career pulling on the Caps jersey. Brit Jordan Steel started the campaign but picked up a bad injury that saw his season cut short.

Newcomers on the blueline were Canadians Jacob Johnston and Kyle Bigos along with young Scot Tyler Plews son of former Cap Scott. Johnston was a great signing and was one of the best Dmen in the league until injury struck and he was ruled out for the rest of the year after picking up a knee injury in the Hogmanay game vs the Flyers. Bigos was as tough as they come and was always on hand to stick up for his teammates. He turned out to be a firm fan favourite. Plews had a steady first season and saw a lot more ice time than he thought after the departure and injuries the club suffered. On the forward lines we saw a new captain in Canadian Everett Sheen but he only lasted 13 games after failing to settle in Scotland and he returned home. Craig McCallum was a great find fresh out of college he came in and was an instant hit. After 26 games he also decided to call it a day and return home to Canada after also being homesick. A lot of fans feel this was the massive turning point as he was a key part of the team. Sharpshooter Ryan Hayes was an American forward who found the net with ease and one of the best goalscorers to ever play with the club. Feisty Canadian forward David Rutherford came in with a great CV having won a number of championships throughout his career. Fresh out of college Nate Fleming arrived and was a versatile player who could play both forward or defence. All were to leave at different points.

Canadian Paul Zanette was named as new club captain but like many others his season was stop start with injury before his wish was granted in February for him to return to Italy to further has chances of being selected for Team Italy in the upcoming Olympic Game Qualifiers. Find of the season was American forward Trevor Gerling. After four years at the University of Connecticut he turned pro here in Edinburgh. He finished the season as top scorer with 27 goals and 29 assists. Taylor Dickin was another Canadian who came in and was making the step up from college hockey. He was a good two way forward who finished 3rd in club scoring. As players left others arrived. Rutherford's buddy Brandon Coccimiglio came in but didn't last long after picking up a season ending injury. Former Fife Flyer and Coventry Blaze forward Ned Lukacevic arrived mid season along with Latvian Dman Nikita Kolesnikovs, flying forward Garrett Milan, Canadian Brandon Thompson and stepping up from the EPL were Thomas Stuart-Dant and RJ Berra. All five saw out the season but could not stop the club going on a winless run from the turn of the year. Coach Emmerson had enough challenges but even his season was cut short when he broke his arm in January.

The Caps finished in bottom spot in the ten team league with Sheffield Steelers winning the title. The Play Off crown went to Nottingham Panthers after they beat Coventry in the final. Panthers also won the Challenge Cup.

The Player of the Year award went to the impressive Trevor Gerling with British Player of the Year being won by Callum Boyd. Overall it was a tough season for the Caps faithful. A season that started with so much hope but sadly fell apart with more challenges faced than it it was fair to expect.  

You can read interviews from past players from the 2015-16 season and all other years at my website - www.eastycatchesupwith.wordpress.com

Mark Easton