Former Braehead Clan netminder Chris Holt insists former team-mate Chris Bruton ‘isn’t a bad guy.’
The former KHL All-Star spoke in reflection about the comments he made in 2016 after Bruton was traded to Coventry Blaze for Neil Trimm, following some dressing room unrest.
But, in speaking with the Glasgow Clan official podcast, ‘Clan Chat’ this week, he admitted he would quite happily meet with him and offer an olive branch, believing Bruton may have regrets on his side too.
“I think that I was the one who said what a lot of the guys in the room had been thinking. It wasn’t a good situation and some things happened and it wasn’t the culture we were trying to establish,” he said.
“Some marriages need to end and that was one of them. I don’t think ‘Brutes’ is a bad guy and I enjoyed a lot of the time I spent with him, believe it or not.
“I don’t think anyone disagreed with what I said. Was I a little harsh and insensitive? Possibly, but I was past the point of being sensitive about it.
“If there was ever a situation where I got to meet him again, I would quite happily sit and talk to him, but I can’t see, knowing him, where he probably looks back and would say ‘I wish I had done some things differently.’
“I think you’d be crazy to thing. I’d be the first to say I was maybe emotional and over the line and I would apologise for that, but I would be hard pushed to think he wouldn’t turn around and expressed some regret over what happened.
“I don’t think he’s a bad person at all. I just think, on those days and in that situation, mistakes were made and the brotherhood wouldn’t tolerate it.”
Holt and Bruton played together at the Clan during the 2015/16 season, until internal issues led to Bruton leaving for the Blaze, where he was traded for former Clan player Trimm.
Incidentally, both players retired at the end of that season, but Holt’s comments on a former unofficial podcast gave an unexpected and shocking perspective on the dynamic in the room at the time.
Holt referred to his ex-team-mate as a “cancer in the locker room” at the time and claimed the rest of the team were glad to see the back of him.
In many ways, the 34-year-old still stands by his convictions over what happened and insists it wasn’t about Bruton, but more about protecting the culture in the room.
He added: “As good a player as he was, or as anyone is, if the same situation had occurred and it was Matt Keith or Stefan Meyer, I would have said the same thing and the locker room would have reacted the same way.
“It didn’t matter that it was Chris Bruton. It could have been anybody and with those kind of decisions, the ‘family’ doesn’t care who you are. Nobody is above the group and that was something we were all agreed on.
“When you act like that, as leaders on the team, it got to a zero tolerance situation and I understand the fans’ reaction at the time, because he was a good player for us. They were right to wonder what was going on.
“He had traded one of our better players, but no-one was above the brotherhood and the brotherhood spoke. I wanted people to understand he was a great player, but it was on us as a culture of a team to govern that.
“If someone cheap shots one of our players on the ice, we expect the five guys on the ice to go after them and the rest to be held back from jumping over the bench. It’s similar in the running of a locker room as well.”