Braehead Clan netminder Gary Russell admits he was tempted by a move away from the club – but knew staying was the best move.
Russell is back for a second season with the Clan after impressing in his eight appearances when he stepped up last year.
He believes he has improved since stepping up from NIHL side Solway Sharks into the Elite League.
Russell said: “I’m from Glasgow, I work in Glasgow and my family is here, plus so it’s easier to commute to the rink so it made sense.
“Plus when I think about how well I was treated by the club and the fans, that was a big reason to return.
“Also, I work full-time so naturally there would have been an impact there. But I was definitely tempted to move on and try and get more ice time somewhere, but everything’s here for me.
“Looking back, I would say I am a better goalie from when I first arrived. I learned a lot from Chris Holt last year and picked up a few things from him.
“I’m hoping to get more ice time of course, but that said, I’m ready to step in when asked to and when it happens, I’ll be ready to take my chance. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. It’s just how things go.”
Russell admitted he has found life with the Clan very enjoyable, but found the transition to being a back-up goalie quite difficult.
“It’s a different mindset you need to be a back-up rather than one that plays all the time,” added Russell.
“It’s about training and making yourself better and making sure you’re ready to step up.
“I got on well with my teammates so there were certainly plenty of positives from my time at Braehead last year.
“Working with Chris was great for me too. I was impressed with his stature and the fact he’d played in the NHL and KHL.
“I’d never worked with anyone with that kind of experience, so it was an honour for me to learn from him and he helped me understand that I can play at this level.
“It was probably more a mental thing, but he mentored me quite a lot and now, looking ahead, I’m just interested in pushing myself forward and try to impress again.”
(Image permission: Al Goold Photo)