O’Brien still hopeful for EIHL chance

Quinn O'Brien was set for a move to Glasgow Clan, but the EIHL's suspension of the season because of COVID has hampered that (PHOTO: Robert Greeley/University of Ottawa Sports Services)

One of Glasgow Clan’s signings, Quinn O’Brien, has spoken of the uncertainty he now faces after the Elite League took the decision to suspend their season.

The Canadian, along with University of Ottawa team-mates Medric Mercier and Jacob Sweeney, were all announced as joining the club at the start of August as the Braehead Arena side began, somewhat tentatively, to prepare for 2020/21.

But after the club told their signed players to consider other opportunities amidst the very real possibility the EIHL would be shut down at the time, O’Brien has spoken of his disappointment that his dream move hasn’t happened.

“I was keen to travel, explore another part of the world and play some high-level hockey,” O’Brien said. “It’s disappointing because you’ve felt like you’ve been working towards a goal and now it’s not happening.  It is what it is and this pandemic has caused so much uncertainty.

“Gareth Chalmers at the Clan was excellent in keep us up to date with information and from around mid-July, he kept giving us information about what was going on and when the season would maybe start.  It gave us a heads up in terms of preparing for what may come.

“But then he reached out again a few weeks ago and told me to prepare that we might not be going ahead at all.  By then I’d heard the rumblings that there was a real chance that might happen through my agent and read some stuff on Twitter too.

“I’m definitely disappointed my move isn’t going ahead and moving forward, I’m still looking around to find the right fit for me.  A lot of things are up in the air as far as my career is going right now, but I’m trying to stay as optimistic as I can.”

The Elite League announced their decision to indefinitely suspend the 2020/21 campaign last month and many players, either Brits or imports have found opportunities to play elsewhere for the season.

The writing had been on the wall for weeks leading up to the decision when no player had been signed since 17th August, indicating all recruitment has effectively ceased as ice hockey at the top level hunkered down for a long year in stasis until it can hopefully emerge in a post-Covid world.

For now, O’Brien is focussing on getting himself through the next 12 months and hasn’t given up hope of getting to play in the Elite League, but admits he’s keeping his options open as he looks at possible opportunities both inside and outside ice hockey.

He added: “I’m looking at another career in business finance, from which I graduated from university with so there are a lot of things to consider. At the moment, I run my own pool business which was to take me to this time of the year when I would have been in Glasgow.

“I still want to find a place to play over the winter and get my career going as an ice hockey player.  If I don’t find something for this year, it would be challenging for me to be able to come over next year, if things are much better.

“It would be great to get to Glasgow in the end, if things go well and I knew, from what people had told me, it was a league that suited me and my style of play. Playing in the UK is something I remain optimistic about, but at the same time, it’s so uncertain right now, but I remain positive that I can do it eventually. I’m definitely not giving up on it.”

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