Comment: How Clan coaching stance should be a warning 

Glasgow Clan have held off on bringing in a new coach at this time, but what does it say about the Elite League's position right now? (PHOTO: Al Goold)

When Gareth Chalmers spoke to us at British Ice Hockey to discuss the coaching situation at the Glasgow Clan, it revealed one thing that should be a concern to a lot of fans all over the UK.

Reading between the lines, there should be a little worry that 2020/21 could very well be over before it’s even begun.

Gareth, Clan’s Chief Operating Officer, didn’t say that when we spoke, to be clear, but taking a step back, the decision to hold the recruitment process to appoint Zack Fitzgerald’s successor is perhaps part of a wider picture.

It’s been weeks since we heard from the Elite League about what the next stage is in terms of even so much as looking to start a new season.

Last we heard, there were positive noises about a season-opening Magic 5 Weekend in October to replace the scrapped play-off finals from this year.

Since then, nothing and there’s every likelihood it may not happen either.

Glasgow Clan Chief Operation Officer Gareth Chalmers (right) with former head coach Pete Russell (PHOTO: Al Goold)

But then a lot of that is a lot to do with the arenas and when you see that England’s easing of lockdown is at a different stage to the rest of the UK, there is confusion.

It might be fine to go to Nottingham for example, but not so much to go to Cardiff or Glasgow or even Fife.

Another thing that can’t be ruled out is the potential of another wave of coronavirus cases, which could mean more lockdown measures which put things back by weeks or months.

But what Gareth has done, as he pointed out in the piece, is tell coaches that they can’t expect commitment from a potential coach if they can’t commit to any dates for them to work with.

Whether you think that’s sensible or illogical is for you to decide.

It’s not the news Glasgow Clan fans were hoping for, two months after Fitzgerald’s exit, but this is a process being undertaken in very unusual circumstances.

There’s a lot of caution involved and Gareth, like many other people in his position up and down the country, are weighing up some difficult decisions that not everyone will find popular.

The Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham looks set to host the first Magic 5 Weekend later this year, but will it happen in October? (PHOTO: Motorpoint Arena)

Also, with no dates to work from, where is the rush to bring somebody in?  If we do have any semblance of a season,  the likelihood is you’re looking at December before a puck can be dropped.

As we’ve said on these very pages, sporting events, concerts and other forms of mass gatherings will be last to be relaxed so it’s going to be a long wait before we can see any live action.

It’s going to affect how teams run their business and while we’re seeing players being announced from some, other haven’t.

It’s a fine line to tread, but the survival of the teams must be paramount in the coming weeks and months.  People like Gareth will have to front up on the decisions they make that may not be favourable to the support.

Surely a holding pattern for a longer term viability is better than going all in and showing your hand, only to see a better hand trump the one you have and leave you in a pickle.

Other teams have forged ahead as normal and as long as that works to what they have in terms of resources, then so be it.

Ice hockey across the board in the UK has seen some great success stories through the years, from individual to team achievements.  Keeping them all at the end of this would surely be the biggest success story of them all.

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