Last week, we caught up with our new coach Dean Birrell and threw a few questions his way in order to find out a little more about him Q: Did you grow up supporting a team? DB: I grew up supporting the Fife Flyers. My cousin took me to a game one Saturday and the next week I was learning to skate in a pair of brown skates. As it was the year after the Flyers had won the league,there wasn’t any space to skate in Fife so I went to Glenrothes to play. Q: Who did you play for? DB: When I started playing, I joined Glenrothes and then moved between Dundee and Fife. I signed up to play for Peterborough who were in the top division at that point. I played there for a few months but I was only 18 and didn’t get a lot of ice time and got offered the move to Chelmsford and played there for quite a while!
Q: What are your memories of coming to Oxpens? DB: Oxford was always a well run club with a decent crowd. When we got shakey as visiting players the crowd would get going and that would be really intimidating. They are so close to you and it really makes a difference. We need the crowds now more than ever when we start the new season – they can help us win games!
Q: What can fans expect on the ice next season? DB: I’m going to enforce a good work ethic in the squad. I’m still in the process of looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the players; a hard task when I can’t see them on the ice! There are teams in this league who are above the rest of the pack but I want to make sure we’re making the big teams really work to take any points away from us!
Q: Can you give us any information on retained or signed players for next season? DB: We have a number of players who will be confirmed as retained for next season. Expect to hear about these very soon! I’m expecting some new signings too and am keen that we bring in young prospects for the future.
Q: Anything else? DB: I’m itching to get started. I can’t wait for the new season!