Many traditions come and go in life and the annual ice hockey tradition of seeing Edinburgh Capitals play Fife Flyers may have been short-lived, but they were competitive and exciting to watch.

That’s the view of former Capitals general manager Scott Neil, who oversaw the preparation of the annual game when it took place at Murrayfield’s ice rink between 2011 and 2017 and one the fans looked forward to a lot.

“The Hogmanay games with Fife Flyers were our biggest games of the year,” Neil said. “Even at the beginning of the season, they were games we worked hard to prepare for.  Financially and emotionally, it was the one both teams wanted to win to end the old year in the best way.

"They were always great matches because the players loved to play in them.  We had a big crowd in as well and it was just such an exciting event to be part of.  The rivalry with Fife was a long standing thing, but this one seemed to go a little above that.

“Edinburgh’s a special place to be on New Year’s Eve and I think fans liked the early face off, which would be around 2pm, then go on and enjoy the celebrations once they watched the hockey.

“When I think back, I think it was me who came up with the idea.  We had discussions with the management and the team and with New Year’s Eve being such a special day, we wanted to do something with it.

“Edinburgh is a busy city on that particular day so we thought it would be a good idea and that it would catch on and did so very quickly.”

The Capitals left the league in 2018 after being ousted from their Murrayfield home by Murrayfield Racers, who were given the contract for ice time at the Caps’ expense, which meant they could no longer compete.

As a result, Neil, a former player with Capitals and ironically, Racers before them, found himself without a club to work.  Since then, he’s dabbled in a few business interests, but he’s never spoken about the circumstances of the Capitals’ demise. He admits the Hogmanay game is one he misses though.

“Edinburgh-Fife games were always big events in their own way.  It was often good quality hockey played by players who had been in high quality leagues all over the world. It’s something I certainly miss as I look back, but time has moved on.”

In the seven Hogmanay games between Flyers’ entry into the EIHL and Edinburgh’s exit, Fife triumphed in six of them and enjoyed the bragging rights over their Forth rivals, but Neil preferred to look at them as good quality contests.

“There wasn’t a game that stood out for me in particular,” he said. "There were all good and entertaining and as I think back, I think Fife won most of them to be fair.  I remember the Capitals winning at least one of them, but they were all well contested.

“Even if we were going through a bad spell and the Flyers were expected to win, we made a game of it and made them work so they were good for the fans to enjoy.  The players seemed to buy into the occasion too, which helped make it what it was.

“I have to give Fife credit for their role in this too.  Their fans, players and management bought into it and they played their part. It takes two teams to make an event like this and they helped.  The atmosphere was always good with interaction and it brought a lot of fans together.”