MAKING the transition to being a player and one of the guys to being the coach and being the boss is one many sportsmen have done, to varying degrees of success.  For Rasmus Bjerrum, seeing Zack Fitzgerald make that change for Glasgow Clan was one he had high hopes for.

The Danish winger opened up about a huge admiration for a man who was his team-mate in this first season under Pete Russell in 2018/19 then became Russell’s replacement last season as the team’s fortunes went from one end of the spectrum to the other on the ice.

Coronavirus put paid to those hopes as the campaign ended prematurely back in March, leaving the feeling of what might have been.  But Bjerrum, now back home in Denmark playing for Esbjerg Energy, was confident ‘Fitzy’, who left Clan in April, would have got them over the line.

“I definitely think we would have reached the play-offs,” Bjerrum said. “We won our last game in Dundee and it was an important one for us to win.  I felt we had a good team on paper last year, but for some reason, we found ourselves struggling.  I still had a good time, even though we weren’t playing as well as we have hoped.

“‘Fitzy’ was still the same guy despite going from being a player to a coach.  I liked playing with him and as a coach.  My first year, we played together and you could always tell he had that charisma and leadership so when he became the coach, I figured it was a natural move for him.

“It must have been weird for him, going from playing with and being friends with the guy to making the decisions about who to play and where.  I think he handled it really well and it’s a tough transition to make.  It’s certainly not one I could do.

“I wanted nothing but the best for him as a coach and I’ll never forget the way he welcomed me and made sure I was okay.  I had a lot of sympathy for him last year and could tell he really wanted us to succeed. He worked really hard for us and, it just didn’t click.  I don’t know why.”

Bjerrum is glad to be playing again, playing in front of crowds of just 350, restricted by the virus of course.  His 14 points in 15 games prior to last night’s game with Sønderjyske has helped Esbjerg to second in the standings so far.

He admits he’s considering returning to Scotland this year and hasn’t ruled it out again, admitting there have been infrequent conversations with Clan’s Chief Operating Officer Gareth Chalmers despite what was a difficult return to Denmark.

“We had to leave right away in March and at the time, Denmark was locked down before Scotland was so we had to isolate for the first two weeks,” Bjerrum added. “We couldn’t get close to anybody for the first month or two until things eased off.”

“We’d actually had some discussions about me returning before the season had ended and discussed the new season.  From my point of view, there was a very good chance I would have stayed on, but things happened the way they did so that was that unfortunate.

“I’m open to the thought of coming back and I’m still in touch with Gareth from time to time, but with the way the world is right now, nobody knows how things will look next year.  I don’t have an answer, but I would certainly love to come back, but it depends on the circumstances.”