Ex Coach Gardner looking forward to Braehead return
Löwen Frankfurt coach Paul Gardner has backed Braehead Clan counterpart John Tripp to succeed in the Elite League.
The former Clan coach is returning to Glasgow for the first time since leaving in 2013 with his current team, who won the German second tier DEL2 last season.
Gardner says his men are excited to be coming to Scotland to battle for the intu Cup as preparations for the new season ramp up.
“It’ll be great to see John again and we have a special friendship that goes back to when I coached him at Hamburg Freezers and stayed in touch through the years,” he said.
“Then we ended up coaching against each other last season in the DEL2 and I’m looking forward to catching up with him.
“I know he’ll be on a learning curve as he adapts to the league and the country, but I know he’ll do a good job in the long run.
“I’m very excited to be returning. When we were asked about coming over, I told Rich Chernomaz, our sporting director to definitely accept the invitation.
“I never realised how excited the guys would be about it and maybe they get sick of playing other German teams so it’s something different for them as well.
“They’re happy to be coming and looking forward to seeing the Purple Army as well as coming up against John’s team.”
Gardner took the reins at Clan in January 2013 from Jordan Krestanovich and led the club to the play-offs and the Gardiner Conference in his short stay.
He left at the end of that season and was replaced by Ryan Finnerty, who spent four years in charge before leaving at the conclusion of the last campaign.
The 61-year-old Canadian has remained a popular figure among sections of the fans and is looking forward to seeing them again, but hopes they’ll be nice to his team.
He added: “I had a great time at the Clan when I was there and I’ve never hidden the fact I was disappointed not to get the chance to come back.
“I made a lot of friends there and managed to stay in touch with many of them. Things like Facebook certainly help so I’m hoping they’re nice to me and my team on my return.”