GLASGOW CLAN’S chief operating officer Gareth Chalmers has admitted there is a possibility there will not be any Elite League ice hockey next season.

After last season ended prematurely in March, a new campaign has been proposed to begin in December but ongoing Covid restrictions means this could be at risk.

Chalmers says they are making plans in the event that a puck can be dropped, but also for if Clan are unable to play in 2020/21.

“We aim to go ahead later this year like everyone else, but I’m highly sceptical,” he said. “Unless we can get the green light from the government and no social distancing in the venues, that’s the only way we can start.

“We’re hoping and planning as normal until we are directed otherwise, but there are various different plans. What we have to take into context is having a longer term vision.

“It’s very high risk, even trying to play this year, no matter which way you look at it. We may end up having to hibernate and return in 2021 much bigger and stronger going forward, once we can get past the pandemic.”

It is news that may be alarming to Clan fans, who have had to make do with watching old games online, visiting Braehead to watch Mighty Ducks at a drive-thru cinema and viewing  interviews with former players on YouTube.

The ongoing engagement with fans has been important to the club in the absence of actual ice hockey to watch, with the Glasgow side one of the most proactive teams in the Elite League. And at a time of the year when the team would have been looking ahead to their pre-season games, maintaining that interest has been paramount.

For Chalmers, it’s certainly been the most challenging time.

“It’s been a testing few months for sure,” he
admitted. “I had to deal with some interesting times at Newcastle Vipers when the owner ran out of money for example.

“But here, with the pandemic, along with the ongoing situation with the arena,
where nothing has changed, it’s been quite a few months for me. I lost my mother last month so
I’ve had to take myself away for family reasons too.

“Inter-acting with the fans has been massive for us. People like to be kept up to date with what’s going on and we’ve tried to do that. We maybe haven’t had a lot to say, but from the off, we wanted to get old games on our YouTube channel to in some way fill that void and that’s proved to be a massive success.

“It’s brought in revenue we wouldn’t normally have had. It’s been greatly appreciated and all the interaction reminds us we’re all one big family and at times like this, especially in the last few months, that’s been important.”

Clan’s previous coach, Zack Fitzgerald, left in early April and news on his replacement has been thin on the ground.

“We’ve been able to take our time on it, because of what’s going on, but we’ve got a list down to three,” Chalmers said.  “The market is slow so there’s no need to rush anything.

“One hasn’t worked in the league before, while the other two have played or coached in the Elite League before so we’ve got three really good candidates.”