Paisley Pirates took time out from their on ice exploits to play “good neighbour” at the weekend, lending the Braehead Clan a netminder when the Elite League team faced a crisis as a result of an injury to their first choice goalie, Michael Zajkowski.
“I got a call from Gareth Chalmers from the Clan at tea time on Friday night asking if we could help them out, as they had two tough games coming up on the Saturday and Sunday against Belfast Giants and Nottingham Panthers respectively,” said Pirates coach Ian Turley.
“We didn’t want them to go into a match at that late stage in the week without a back up, so we were happy to lend them Calum Hepburn, who in turn is with us on a two way contract with Solway Sharks, and Calum was happy to go. Because he’s not had a lot of ice time with us this year as a result of Graeme Meechan’s excellent form, and bearing in mind that he’s covered for the Clan before, he was the obvious choice.”
He went on, “It did leave us with only one goalie for our match at North Ayr on Saturday, but we’re never going to stand in the way of any player who’ll get the chance of picking up the experience you’ll get dressing for an Elite League side, whether or not you actually get on the ice. We always preach to players that we’re here to develop them and make them better, and clearly getting the experience of mixing with Elite League players is going to be part of that development if an opportunity appears.”
“I think that makes 4 goalies which the Clan have dressed at least who have very clear Pirates’ connections-their current back up goalie Gary Russell started his career with us, they had Finnish star Jarkko Suomolainen for a season and he played for us during our time at the Lagoon, and two of our goalies, Calum Hepburn and Colin McGill a couple of years ago have helped out at short notice when they needed a back up.”
“I do think that it’s possible for SNL clubs like ourselves to develop players capable of playing in the Elite League, and I would like to think that if the Clan need any back up from us at any time, they’ve only got to come and ask.”