BRAEHEAD CLAN chief Gareth Chalmers is urging EIHL bosses to preserve the conference system as a move to 12 teams is set to be tabled.

The top men of all the 10 sides will meet on Tuesday at a league summit where the format of the competition will be discussed.

Top of the agenda will be the expansion of the division as Milton Keynes Lightning get set to join for the forthcoming campaign.

At the moment, the Elite League is split into two conferences - Gardiner and Erhardt - with Clan joining Fife, Edinburgh, Dundee and Manchester in the former.

The system as it stands allows the groups to be regionalised reducing travel and increasing the competition - all four teams in the top of standings currently come from the Erhardt conference - but the balance of the sections will be disrupted as the league moves to 11 teams.

However, SportTimes understands that the prospect of introducing another team to bring the total number of clubs up to a dozen is on the list of topics to be discussed, with either Guildford or a new team in London a possibility.

While Chalmers wouldn't be drawn on commenting on that matter, the club's hockey and operations director stressed his and Clan's position for wishing to maintain the conference structure as it is.

“The conference system was and still is the best move the EIHL has made, it changed the league from being unstable into a very a solid set-up," he told SportTimes.

“It’s certainly transformed the clubs in Scotland and from a business perspective has provided the likes of Braehead, Dundee, Edinburgh and Fife with the stepping stones to grow.

“To move away from that now in my opinion could be detrimental to the whole set-up, but it’s all on the basis of having an even number of teams in the league.

“I appreciate the argument from a sporting perspective that we want a more level playing field, however we shouldn’t be looking to change something that has been successful on a whole.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged Lee Esders will return to the ice for Braehead this weekend.

The former Clansman rejoined the Glasgow club from Guildford Flames in the summer as illness cover and is in line to feature when the Edinburgh Capitals come to the Braehead Arena on Saturday night.

“It’s great to have Lee back in the line-up and at an important time when the whole team is struggling with injury and illness,” said Chalmers.

“As we stated during the summer, he was always signed as an emergency injury cover and our aim was always to call on him during January / February when knocks start catching up with the players.

“Lee hasn’t trained this season due to his work commitments, which we were fully aware of when we signed him.

“We had planned to have him start over the festive period however he wasn’t well, so his health 100 per cent has to come first.

“It would have been ideal to have him in the line-up last weekend, but we aren’t willing to throw a player into a game situation having not trained for eight months.

“We’re looking forward to having Lee with us this week with the aim of playing the two games at the weekend. I’d like to this opportunity to thank him for his flexibility in helping us out around his work commitments.”