GARETH Chalmers admits Braehead Clan are taking a gamble after changing the club’s name to Glasgow Clan ahead of the forthcoming season.

Eight years on from their inception, the ice hockey club based on the banks of the Clyde at Braehead Arena has grown into the fastest-developing sports brand in the country, climbing from just 800 fans to average crowds now north of 3000.

With the Elite League standard growing and the competition improving at the big hitters of Sheffield Steelers, Belfast Giants and Nottingham Panthers, Clan bosses have decided to take the step to raise the profile, appeal and opportunities for Scotland’s newest professional outfit by dropping the name Braehead and replacing it with Glasgow.

It is a bold move but one Chalmers, the club’s hockey and operations director, feels is one that needed to be made.

It’s a progression for us to include Glasgow in the name. We have a strong connection with Braehead which ahas been very beneficial since our inception in 2010. We just had a look at things and decided we wanted to change the name to Glasgow to incorporate the big city in the name.

“We believe it’s going to help us with corporate partnerships, enticing players to Glasgow and to also growing our reach in the greater Glasgow area,” he said.

“In the early days the Braehead brand helped us sell the product. It’s helped us put bums on seats. But now we are at the stage where we are averaging 3000 people per game so I think it’s important to grow our reach, so we have gone with Glasgow.

“I think any move like this is a gamble. It’s one of those situations where fans get very connected with the Braehead Clan. All of them are Braehead Clan supporters.

“But the move to Glasgow doesn’t change anything. We’re still the Clan, we’re still the same club.

“It’s more of a case of doing it for the right reasons and we feel that it will push us to the next level.”

Making this transition is one that clearly needs to be made with a great deal of care. Despite the club’s relatively new status, their supporters - known as the purple army - have a passion that would rival most football clubs who have stood for over a century.

The unveiling, held yesterday at 29 in Glasgow’s Royal Exchange Square, was beamed live to the living rooms of fans watching on Facebook. The response appeared largely positive.

“People can get very connected with the name and we were conscious of that. It’s important to remember we’re still the Clan,” said Chalmers. “We’re just called Glasgow Clan now.

“As a club, we’ve plateaued in the last couple of years and this re-brand will help take us on to the next level.

“While the Clan will always be synonymous with the Braehead name, we feel it’s now time to incorporate one the UK’s biggest cities into the organisations future, which we believe will further enhance our corporate partnerships, community engagement programme and player recruitment process heading forward.

“It is a natural progression to incorporate Glasgow into the name, which will ultimately help us maximise the brand and growth even further. “

Pete Russell, the new Glasgow Clan head coach, said he was behind the change as he plots attempting to bring the club’s first ever piece of major silverware back to Braehead Arena in the new season.

“It’s a pretty positive thing and it will definitely help the business grow. People don’t understand it has to grow because big teams are upping their level. To get closer to them you have to get closer to them you need more income,” he said.

“A lot of the top teams have upped their level massively but I think we have a good team, a solid team. We have players that will suit the way we play and I think we have people that will work hard for the team. That makes me excited.

“It’s really exciting and there seems to be a bit of a buzz. We want to improve on where we were last year and start growing again. That’s the goal and wherever it takes us we’ll see.”