The pain of seeing your favourite sports team fold can leave a lasting impression on how you view that sport. For Kirsty Longmuir, she saw it as an opportunity to bring something back that had been missing for ice hockey fans.

Kirsty worked with Ayr Scottish Eagles during their heyday in the old British Super League and as a local girl, enjoyed the Grand Slam high of 1998 and the ultimate low when they went out of business just four years later.

When she was made General Manager of the newly-formed Braehead Clan in 2010, one of her first tasks to turn to the fans of Ayr and try to convince them to get behind a new team eight years later and it wasn’t as easy as just promising ice hockey. For some, old wounds were still not fully healed.

“The days I had working with the Ayr Eagles at the Centrum rink in Prestwick were a lot of fun and I was delighted for them they got behind an ice hockey team again after seeing the Eagles go out of business in 2002,” she said.

“We at least had a fan base and a target market with which to work. It was very difficult though as some people had lost money when the Eagles folded and playing at Braehead Arena was an issue for some as Eagles had been briefly relocated there before they ended.

“The negativity was still there for a lot of people and it took a while to convince them to get on board with the Clan.  We wanted to create something that would last and some people were cynical about it - and rightly so - but we managed to get it off the ground.

“There was also the challenge of persuading Glaswegians to get involved and come along to see something they’ve never seen before.  We sold it as a family-orientated sport and something that was more tangible than football.”

Longmuir, now a freelance marketing consultant based in Edinburgh, was the Clan’s first GM as they made their first steps into existence, overseeing their growth in those first three years as a brand new franchise and it had its challenges, particularly bringing in four coaches in her time in charge.

She’s immensely proud of her role in Clan’s early history and revealed why she left the role at time when the success of finishing second in the Elite League, a first ever appearance at the play-off finals weekend and the Champions Hockey League was just around the corner.

“When I left, I had explained that I had bought a house that I was planning to renovate so this was a project that needed a lot of time,” Longmuir added. “I’d got to a point where I wanted to go and do other things and that’s exactly what I did.

“Since leaving, I always felt the writing was always on the wall for them to have the relative success they’ve had.  Neil always had high expectations for the club and the team to do well.  He always knew Clan wouldn’t be a flash in the pan.

“He wanted to really establish the team inside five years and was always aware of the potential.  Glasgow is a great city to have a team and to take ice hockey to.  In some ways, I expected them to do well and I’m glad they have done well.

“I’m also happy for the fans too.  I remember the feeling of losing your team, the pain of seeing it fold so to see them progressively do well is a great thing and I hope it continues for many years to come.”