NEWCASTLE Vipers may or may not play for the last time this weekend. General manager Jaimie Longmuir believes two mid-season departures cost them a reprieve of at least a few weeks.
The Vipers are home and away to Dundee Stars in the last week of the regular Elite League season.
The Stars edged Newcastle out of the play-offs, but Longmuir believes roles could have been reversed had his club held on to Scott Langdon and Jamie Carroll in January.
“When you consider we have been playing with six imports for weeks, it is incredible,” was Longmuir’s verdict on the season.
“I genuinely believe even if we had kept Scott Langdon and Jamie Carroll, and John Schwarz had stayed fit, we could have made the play-offs, but you have to run with the hand you are dealt.”
The Vipers have been without an owner since January, kept on life support by the league.
Unless a backer emerges quickly and against the odds, it will be switched off.
The tears in the Hillheads stands last week were more at that than the end of an unlikely play-off dream. There are sure to be more tonight.
Longmuir, who will attend a potentially decisive Elite League meeting on Tuesday, said: “Last week I think the reason people were so emotional was it was such a good performance against all the odds,
“When you see the players giving their all people can relate to that, especially in this region. Everyone could see they played for the fans.
“We want to win this weekend, certainly at home. We want to give the fans something to be proud of.
“It is such a strange feeling. It is the end of the season but potentially more than that. On the one hand it is a relief we are coming to the end and we have managed to negotiate our way through.
“This has been my life for the last five years. The way it has ended it will be sad. I wish we were continuing.”
English National League North One champions Whitley Warriors are at Trafford today and Nottingham Lions tomorrow. Northern Stars play for double points at Blackburn Hawks tomorrow.