Cloutier visited Hull to meet a number of next season's squad and attended a hugely successful fans forum, where he, and players James Hutchinson, Shaun Thompson, Matty Davies and Pavel Gomenyuk, spoke to fans about the upcoming season.
At a packed Hull Arena bar Cloutier re-iterated his excitement for the upcoming season, admitting that the season can't come quick enough:
"I can’t wait to get going. I am extremely happy with the guys we have signed so far, we have done really well on the recruiting and we have a really good group and a good mix. We are going to have three solid lines.With just over two months until opening face-off, Cloutier has signed 14 of next season's squad, and with a further two import spots signed but unannounced, he is left to search for the team's final two signings, a Brit and an import.
"We want to compete every night. I have put a team together to do that and I know we are going to give Sheffield, Coventry, Nottingham and Belfast their money's worth."
As revealed on their agents website earlier in post-season, Matt Reynolds and CHLer Mike Beynon have both signed for unnamed Elite League teams, and with Cloutier's admission that two imports have been signed and sealed for next season, the two Canadians could be set for two of the three remaining slots, with an player announcement expected this Wednesday.
Reynolds, a forward, and Beynon, a defenceman, would presumably leave the Rays searching for an import blueliner, in order to fill three lines of defence, and, alongside that assumption, Cloutier announced at the forum that the final import will be tough, and will help forward turned defenceman Adam Knight with the team's enforcing duties.
But with a Brit yet to be announced, that tough player could yet be British, although sensible money would go on enigmatic British trained forward Slava Koulikov returning for a sixth season, especially given the lack of British players willing to fight Canadian heavyweights on a regular basis.
Should the final import be a tough defenceman, it would leave the Rays defence looking somewhat weak however it is believed that Cloutier has great faith in the abilities of British defencemen Craig Mitchell and particularly James Hutchinson, who is coming from a treble winning season in the EPL.
Finally, the club announced that the team will have a new equipment manager for next season, with former Newcastle equipment man Tim Blake joining the team, further bolstering the Stingrays off-ice staff following the appointment of Jon Kynaston as Commercial and Community Development Officer.
The excitement in the Stingrays camp and amongst the fan base is growing in anticipation of Sylvain Cloutier's first game in charge of the team, which is expected to come on September 8, with the fixtures announcement expected in July.
Photo Courtesy: Arthur Foster