It's been a difficult year for the Glasgow Clan of the United Kingdom's Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) but in the midst of a tough season, Airdrie's Gary Haden has performed well in his first season of professional hockey in Britain.
After 42 games in 2022-2023, the Clan sits in eighth place in the ten-team league with 29 points. The team has been on a bit of a roll lately, winning four of their last five games and moving into the final playoff spot.
The season got off to a rocky start when Glasgow didn't win a game in their first 16 starts. That prompted a change behind the bench in October, with the team parting ways with Head Coach Malcolm Cameron who recruited Haden to the U.K. after coaching him during his first year with the Western Hockey League's Regina Pats in 2014.
Then, the team's leading scorer, Canadian Mathieu Roy terminated his contract with Glasgow in early December to pursue an opportunity with the Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL. Since that time, Glasgow has been slowly clawing their way back into contention in the league.
In his first year with the Clan, Haden is leading the team in goals with 19 in 42 games and is second in team scoring with 33 points, just two behind another Canadian, Steven McParland who has 35. Overall, Haden sits tied for 28th in EIHL scoring,
In the Clan's last game, a 3 - 1 win over the Fife Flyers, Haden scored the insurance goal to give the team their fourth win in their last five games. The victory also moved Glasgow into the final playoff spot, one point ahead of the Flyers. In those five games, Haden has three goals and two assists.
Haden grew up in the Airdrie Minor Hockey system then spent two seasons playing for the U15 Airdrie Xtreme before splitting parts of two more with the U16 AC Avalanche, the U18 Bisons and then had a brief stint in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Okotoks Oilers.
He was selected by the Regina Pats in of the Western Hockey League in the ninth round of the 2014 Prospects Draft but started in the WHL with the Medicine Hat Tigers.
In his four-year WHL career, Haden played with three teams, the Tigers, Saskatoon Blades and Victoria Royals. In 232 regular-season games, he collected 80 goals while adding 90 assists.
Last season Haden played for the University of Alberta Golden Bears of the U Sports League and helped Alberta to a record of 16 wins, 3 losses, and 1 overtime loss and the Canada West Conference Championship. The Golden Bears advanced to the U Sports Championship tourney where they lost in double-overtime in the final to the University of Quebec Trois Rivieres Patriotes. With the dream to play pro hockey, Haden got his opportunity to do it in Europe and joined the EIHL.
Few people may know that hockey, while not being the first sport that comes to mind when you think of the United Kingdom, is now the number-one attended indoor professional sport in the U.K. and the third largest winter spectator sport after football and rugby union
The EIHL is a professional league that was formed in 2003 and consists of ten teams from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
About two-thirds of the players in the league come from North America while the remainder primariily natives of the U.K. The majority have Tier One Junior Hockey experience with a few having played pro hockey.
The Clan is back in action when they take on the fourth-place Cardiff Giants on Valentine's Day.
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