Former Braehead Clan defender Cameron Burt admits that even though he was the coach who plunged his team into a relegation battle the season before, he loved ex-coach John Tripp’s enthusiasm for doing his job.
In the summer of 2017, Burt joined the Clan from the German second-division team Starbulls Rosenheim, weeks after Tripp secured a relegation playoff with the Crimmitschau Eispiraten, sending the Bavarians to the lower division.
This did not stop the American from appreciating what his coach brought to the team during an unfortunate 2017-18 season that ended in disappointment when last weekend the Clan dropped out of the playoffs – the first time in the 10-year history of the club.
“It’s crazy to think that John Tripp coached against the team I played for and we got relegated with the season before I came to Glasgow,”It’s crazy to think that John Tripp was coaching the team with which I played and that we were relegated to the season before I came to Glasgow. I’m trying not to recall that too much. For us, it had been a difficult year and it was weird how things went that year in Germany.
He had some glimpses of my game, which he probably got from the fact that I was playing against his team, so I think that was for my benefit. For him to sign me, I must have made an impression on him, which was a compliment.
John is a man who was passionate about what he was doing, and I appreciated that. The way he told you how he felt straight up. Some people can handle that better than others. At times this season, we didn’t have the best partnership, but we had the same goals. We all wanted to win, and maybe that’s why the tension happened.
It goes without saying that the season didn’t go the way it would have satisfied all of us, and tensions were rising. He was someone who was pushing me, who was anticipating and demanding the best from me and the other players. He was always someone you could relate to off the field, and that side of him was always valued by me.
While it was statistically the worst season in the Elite League that the Clan has ever seen, finishing ninth out of 10 and missing the playoffs at the end of the season, it is a season that Burt tends to look back on with some nostalgia rather than residual bitterness.
The 34-year-old, who now works in Michigan as a real estate agent, maintains that the poor finish was not due to a lack of commitment, but after former coach Ryan Finnerty and his entire squad of import players had to leave, the transitional time the team was in.
There was no one from my point of view who didn’t go out and give it their all,” he added. “It was difficult to get it across to the fans. You go to a team that has traded a bunch of guys a lot of times, but I haven’t seen that as much as I did with the Clan. Usually a few or a handful of players remain, but it was more or less the whole team when I arrived.
“In a short period of time, it was hard to bring everyone together. The teams that did better were the teams that remained consistent, like Cardiff, and you could see they were together longer. We had some amazing moments and I wouldn’t say it was negative the entire season.
The bottom line is, we’re professional athletes and we’ve been trying to make it work, but we haven’t been successful. Some of us have ended up losing our jobs and moved on. That is the root of it.’