Glasgow Clan (then Braehead Clan) began competitive Elite Ice Hockey League life on Saturday, September 18th 2010 when player-coach Bruce Richardson took his team for their first ever game at Dundee Stars, winning 5-3. Two weeks later, the team were introduced to their home fans for the first time in a match with Newcastle Vipers that saw Richardson’s men prevail in a shootout victory.
From there a team was truly born. Richardson led the team to the highest position of any Scottish team in Elite League history – fifth – but elimination from Nottingham Panthers in the quarter finals ended Clan’s hopes of play-off contention. Clan’s coach resigned in the summer of 2011 and was replaced by former NHL man Drew Bannister, who gave a huge boost to the team by signing prolific Nottingham Panthers hitman Jade Galbraith.
While the club finished sixth and again went out of the play-offs at the quarter final stage to Panthers, Galbraith was the league’s Player of the Year after amassing 101 points. Another change of coach saw fans’ favourite Jordan Krestanovich take over as the league changed to a new Conference format, with Braehead playing extra games against their Scottish rivals and Hull Stingrays. However Krestanovich’s tenure proved difficult and he was replaced by Paul Gardner in January 2013 for the remainder of the season.
A slight improvement followed as Clan won the Gardiner Conference and the Challenge Cup semi finals, but play-off finals participation was denied by Cardiff Devils, who won over two legs in the quarter finals. Ryan Finnerty, newly released by Sheffield Steelers, took over as head coach in April 2013 as Braehead began in a new direction with a multitude of changes on and off the ice, but undoubtedly with much more history to come. That was certainly the case as the new coach stamped on the team to win the Aladdin Cup and take the team to a fifth place finish. Even better was the club’s first ever foray to the play-off finals weekend in Nottingham as the Clan fans invaded the English city to support their team.
A narrow semi final loss to Sheffield Steelers was made up was made better by a third place play-off win over Fife Flyers, ending the season on a high. Finnerty returned for phase two and despite the season ending in disappointment as the Clan missed out on the league title and the play-off finals. However an amazing second place league finish was made better by the fact that we were about to embark on a European journey after qualifying for the Champions Hockey League. While trips to Växjo Lakers in Sweden and Ingolstadt in Germany were eye-opening in terms of the quality of opposition, a 6-4 home win over the Germans ended the campaign in style. Clan went on to a third place finish in 2015-16 with a team that including future Wall of Famer Matt Keith, Chris Holt, Brendan Brooks, Alex Leavitt and Scott Pitt.
Disappointment ended the campaign with a two-legged loss to Gardiner Conference rivals Fife Flyers in a breathtaking tie that could have gone either way until Flyers clinched it in overtime to once again see the Clan on the outside looking in to the windows of the play-off finals. Back for what would be his last season, Finnerty made some changes to the team with Pitt going on to become Braehead’s all-time top scorer, working brilliantly with Matt Beca and Mike Hammond, who themselves picked up big numbers.
While Clan started slowly, they went on to finish in the top half of the table again, ending the campaign in fifth place in 2016/17, but what would be frustrating campaign ended with another play-off heartache as Dundee Stars took victory over two legs to once more deny a play-off finals spot.
This signalled the end of a four-year tenure of Ryan Finnerty and Braehead looked outside for a new coach, settling on former NHL star John Tripp, who arrived from German side Eispiraten Crimmitschau. It was a brand new team as Tripp looked to make his mark in the UK, but what looked to be a promising campaign ended in disappointment. For the first time in their history, Clan were eliminated from the Challenge Cup and failed to the make the play-offs, finishing ninth in a season that never really got going. As a result, Tripp left after only a year and it was back to the drawing board as Clan went on a new direction. And one that looks to be a defining one in the club’s history.
GB national coach Pete Russell, a Scot, was lured back home to take on the role at a newly rebranded Glasgow Clan, refreshing the brand and creating a new kind of energy. Under the revised logo and name, the new-look Glasgow Clan achieved a 4th place finish in the 2018/19 season reaching the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup and winning the Gardiner conference title for the 5th time. Local lad Pete Russell’s GB team also achieved a historic win over France in the world championships to stay in the highest division for a second year on the trot. Unfortunately for Clan, this led to interest overseas in the successful Glaswegian manager who joined EHC Freiburg.
Following this, popular Clan figure and 2018/19 captain Zach Fitzgerald took over the helm in the summer of 2019. Clan were originally top of the league in the early stages of the season but unfortunately faded to mid-table as the season went on. The season was unfortunately cut short before the playoffs due to the global pandemic of Covid-19, with Clan finishing the season sitting in 7th place.
Following the end of the season head coach Zack Fitzgerald has been removed from the helm. As the puck gets ready to drop on this new era, there could be new heights to scale as Glasgow Clan get ready for the Elite League.