Old boys convince Wharton to join Clan

Braehead Clan ‘D’ man Kyle Wharton revealed some former players helped to convince him moving to Scotland would be the right move.

The 30-year-old was announced last week as Head Coach Ryan Finnerty puts the finishing touches on his team for next season.

“I didn’t know a lot about Braehead Clan to be honest,” Wharton said. “But I sounded out Leigh Salters, Jon Landry and Thomas Nesbitt, who’ve played there at different stages.

“I got great feedback from all of them, who spoke very highly of the city. Overall, they each enjoyed their experience and that was something I want to do.

“I’d also been talking on the phone with Ryan and from the start – he just seemed like a great person and we were able to connect on a few things.

“I just thought it would be a good fix for me and I knew a couple of the guys that will be there as well, including Trevor Hendrikx and Matt Beca so I’m not going in there blind.

“We’re just excited to be going somewhere where we can speak English, read the newspapers and watch the TV.”

Wharton spent last season in Japan with Nikko Icebucks and prior to that played in various leagues across Eastern Europe.

He holds a British passport due to his father hailing from Norwich and said the reputation of the Elite League has grown, which has increased the attractiveness of it to import players.

He added: “I’d heard the British league had been getting better and I’m aware of the players that are going over to play in it this year.

“I know it’s a tough league, but there’s more skill there now and is increasing the awareness of it around Europe.

“The fact that everything’s in English and you have the transition of going to Europe and being able to language is a huge plus for players now.

“If you can have 12 or 13 Canadians or Americans, it can feel much more like home. I think that’s a huge draw.

“I’m looking forward to the whole experience and I’m excited to talk to people and getting involved in the community.

“I think the overall hockey is something to look forward to as well and I haven’t played in a team with so many imports in a long time. The whole experience to me will be a really positive one.”

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