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Hi Purple Army,
The dust has settled a little after the playoff 1/4 finals, and upon reflection while I am absolutely gutted not to make another Playoff Finals Weekend, I am extremely proud of the progress this club has made this season. The guys played their hearts out over the weekend, gave their all, in the end we just couldn’t get across the line – congratulations to Paul Dixon, Rob Hepburn, Kirk Humphries and everyone connected with the Guildford Flames, good luck in your first EIHL Playoff Finals Weekend.
Looking back to this time last year, I sat at my desk after failing to make the playoffs for the first time in the club’s history. I was a bit dumb struck and numb after what was a bitterly disappointing season for the club. It was a time of reflection and a lot of sole searching. Not making the playoffs was a disaster for the club and one that was totally unacceptable. However, I knew exactly what we needed to do and had already made Pete our target. I’ve known Pete for twelve years now, going back to his Swindon days, he is a friend of mine and I knew what he could bring to the club on and off the ice. I knew that bringing in Pete was going to have a mixed reaction, which I understood – but he was definitely the right choice for us.
I’d like to thank Pete for what he has done with the club this season, he has brought an identity and the heart back to the Clan. It’s been a very difficult season for Pete with his family staying in Swindon, it can’t be easy at all being away from your wife and daughter for eight months – thank you to Pete, Kate and Sylvie for that dedication and commitment.
To finish 4th in the EIHL (taking into consideration the lack of a conference system), to make the Challenge Cup semi-finals and to win the Gardiner Conference title is good progress for the club and following last season, one we should be proud of. Now we have the challenge of doing it all again and doing everything in our power to build on that.
I would like to thank the players (we’ve had the best bunch of guys we’ve ever had here this season), their partners & families, the staff (who don’t get the recognition for the hours they work), our superb sponsors, our committed and loyal volunteers and everyone at Braehead Arena for all their help and support this season. The Purple Army as ever are an absolute credit to the club and deserve success, you follow the club up and down the country in large numbers and are the envy of a lot of other organisations – thank you, thank you, thank you! The atmosphere in the Arena was absolutely electric against Guildford – reminding me of our playoff quarter final against Nottingham back in 2014. I would also like to say a huge thank you to the OSC, they are absolutely imperative to the day to day operations of the club. Without them we wouldn’t have been able to put this team on the ice this season – in my opinion the best OSC in the country, thank you to the committee and all the members.
I know everyone will already be wanting to know what’s happening ahead of the 2019/20 season. Plans are well underway and have been for some time, we know we need to keep a solid core of this season’s team and look to build and progress around that. I am hoping to be in a position this week to start making some announcements so we can all focus on coming back bigger and stronger for 2019/20 season. Inevitably, like any other summer, some players will move on and some new players will arrive.
If you’re heading to Nottingham this weekend, have a superb weekend, if not enjoy your summer and we are looking to seeing everyone in August.
Thanks for all your support during 2018/19!