CRAIG PEACOCK is the first name to sign up for Braehead Clan next season.

And the forward is relishing the prospect of pulling on a purple jersey again for a new and improved Elite League next season.

The GB international is confirmed as returning for a second season with the Glasgow club as they continue their search to replace head coach Ryan Finnerty.

But Peacock believes the new format of three Conferences is a good thing and reckons the standard will be high again in 2017/18.

“The new format was the best outcome for the league and you want to see as many teams in the league as possible,” he said. “It’ll be good as you’ll play more cross Conference games.

“Each Conference will be important of course, but with more games against the other teams in the league will also be crucial.

“There will be a good rivalry in the Scottish conference and I expect there will be some good battles among the teams all year long.

“Every team is improving all the time and you only need to see Dundee Stars in the play-off finals, plus Fife and Edinburgh are challenges. It’ll certainly be interesting in our Conference.

“It’s hard to say what Milton Keynes and Guildford will bring to the league, but it’s great we’ve got two new teams coming in.

“Pete (Russell) in MK will have a good team put together. They’ll be hungry and ready to go while Guildford have been established for a long time and have been successful.

“I’m certain these two teams won’t be coming in to make up the numbers.”

Peacock also spoke of the impending arrival of a new coach, following Finnerty’s departure last month and he insists whoever it is, they’ll get the full backing of the Clan players.

He added: “The outlook of the team will be different without Ryan there and a new coach will come in with new ideas and systems.

“There will be a bit of a change for the guys at the club who have been there for a while and have worked with Ryan (Finnerty) before.

“Sometimes that can be a good thing as well. For me, Ryan did a good job and brought me to Braehead last year and I really enjoyed working with him. I’m sad to see him go.

“But a new coach coming in will have the full backing of the players and it’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out.”

Finnerty exited the post he'd held for three seasons after Braehead's play-off push was halted at the quarter-final stage by Dundee Stars.

Clan chiefs took decisive action less than 24 hours after that defeat but the search for his replacement is still ongoing.

It's understood bosses are content to take a patient approach to the appointment with hockey and operations director Gareth Chalmers overseeing the recruitment process at the moment.

Peacock enjoyed a prosperous year for Braehead during his maiden season in Glasgow, netting 11 goals and 12 assists.

He previously enjoyed a six-year spell with the Belfast Giants.