A new top-flight ice hockey team in Scotland will play in the UK’s Elite League next season.
The Braehead Clan will play out of the impressive 4000-seater Braehead Arena near Glasgow.
And ice hockey fans are eagerly awaiting a new Scottish rival to the Edinburgh Capitals who are presently the only team north of the border in the top flight of British ice hockey.
A group of Elite League ice hockey club owners headed by Nottingham’s Neil Black has formed a new company to run the team out of Braehead Arena. The identity of the club’s general manager and coach will be announced shortly.
Last night, Black was in a buoyant mood and said: “This is a fantastic shot in the arm for Scottish and British ice hockey.
“People should be in no doubt that ice hockey as a sport is being strengthened and developed with an expanded league of nine teams. The Braehead Clan will bring a new excitement to rinks up and down the country.
“And there will undoubtedly be a great rivalry between the west and east of Scotland Elite League teams when the Capitals and Braehead Clan clash on the ice.”
This is backed up by Edinburgh Capitals owner Scott Neil, who said: “The new kids on the block will probably think they’ll be top dogs in Scotland, but the Capitals will have something to say about that when we face the Braehead Clan on the ice.
“But it’s great news for Scottish ice hockey fans that we’ll now have a Scottish east versus west rivalry in the Elite League. I can’t wait to savour the atmosphere both here in Edinburgh and at Braehead when the two teams clash.”
Black is confident a large fan base for the Braehead Clan can quickly be built up and is not only promising top-class players on the ice, but also an exciting off-ice entertainment package that will keep the fans coming back for more.
Black continues: “The Braehead Clan has a superb opportunity to create a big, big fan base with almost two-and-a-half million people living less than an hour’s drive from Braehead Arena.
“With a great team on the ice and exciting entertainment off ice, there will be a fantastic evening of sports entertainment for everyone – the hockey purists who have supported hockey so well over the years and new fans who are so important to the future of the game.”
Andy French, Head of Elite League Operations said: “It’s great news that we are expanding the Elite League, especially with the exciting new team playing out of such a fantastic venue as Braehead Arena.
“This is definitely a boost to the league, fans and British hockey in general. Strengthening the league like this will help us in terms of gaining sponsorship, media coverage and continuing to be featured on Sky Sports television next season.”
The deal with Braehead Arena to be the home rink for the new ice hockey team means that ice time will be also available for other ice sports, including the Paisley Pirates ice hockey team who will continue to play out of Braehead next season.
Junior development ice hockey teams, ice dance and figure skaters along with public skating will also benefit thanks to the financial input of the Braehead Clan, which means ice will be available next year at Braehead Arena.
Braehead’s general manager Peter Beagley said: “Although we are an events arena and not just an ice rink, because of our agreement to host the Braehead Clan, we can now give over more time to ice sports.
“And that is good for ice sports nationally and locally in Renfrewshire with more ice time than before being available.
“Braehead is one of the country’s top arenas and we’ll be working closely with the Braehead Clan to make sure we have one of the country’s top ice hockey teams playing there.”
Issued on behalf of The Brahead Clan by Macdonald Media. For more info contact Norman Macdonald on (o) 01505 816980 or (m) 07958 648814