While the last year has been hard on all the sporting world, ice hockey in this country has had it really tough.

However, Glasgow Clan’s chief operating officer Gareth Chalmers has his fingers crossed for a brighter future.

While many sports have been able to return to action, ice hockey is still a long way behind. It is almost 10 months since the season ended abruptly, but even with 2020/21 suspended indefinitely, Chalmers remains hopeful there will be pucks dropped as he and the other nine teams start to consider what a new world of ice hockey will look like.

“I can’t believe it’s been that long,” Chalmers said. “We’ve had so many things to overcome, it’s a challenge unlike anything else I’ve ever faced, but it’s the same for everyone. We’ve had to adapt our way of working to keep the fans engaged and we’ve learned so much during this difficult time. It’s all geared towards being able to start again in September, but there’s so many things to take into account.

“This new strain of the virus is causing a lot of concern, but vaccines are being rolled out so we have to start preparing for September and see just how we can go again.

“Leagues are playing all over Europe, but they have the financial backing to function without crowds or a limited attendance. We need to look at a way forward and we’re talking all the time about how to go about that.

“For us, looking for a new coach is top of the list of course and that’s a process I’ll be able to begin properly [now] if we can go ahead as we hope. We’ve missed everything that we would normally be doing and can’t wait to be doing it again.”

There are more hurdles to leap and while there is still talk of a season starting involving the five English teams in the league because of the government funding they received, Clan are remaining firmly on the sidelines, along with Scottish counterparts Dundee Stars and Fife Flyers.

“As far as I know, they’re still looking at a smaller, shorter league among the five teams south of the border, but it’s not something we’ve ever been interested in,” Chalmers said. “Weighing up the cost and everything around it, it just wouldn’t have been feasible for us to be involved so our preferred option was always to sit out 2020/21.

“When we can get started up again, we’ll have to contend with the new processes that Brexit will place on us, including higher costs for NHS surcharges [for import players] and the visa process.

“There’s a lot to get our heads around in the next few months, but we’re determined to come back better and stronger and that’s still our aim for the months ahead.”