The "Take a Knee" protest is the issue that is currently dividing America, but such is the scale of the debate around the movement, it has even crossed the Atlantic and reached the west of Scotland. Over a year ago, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, then of the San Francisco 49ers, knelt during the Star Spangled Banner as a protest against police brutality and racial injustices in America but the protest has gathered such momentum that, in the past few weeks, dozens upon dozens of his fellow NFL players have joined him in taking a knee.

However, a protest such as this is not something that would happen in ice hockey believes Braehead Clan winger, Mike Embach. The 29 year-old hails from Illinois and played both college and professional ice hockey in his home country for over a decade before he signed for Braehead and, having observed the Take a Knee protests in the NFL from afar in recent weeks, he has come to the conclusion that the differences in culture between American football and ice hockey mean that similar protests would not be replicated in his own sport.

“I honestly don’t think this would happen in hockey” he said. “I think the culture in hockey is different – as a group, you’re more as one in hockey whereas in football, there’s the offence, the defence, the special teams and there’s more separation rather than just one team. Regardless of what you feel, I think the team culture in hockey means that it would never happen whereas for whatever reason in football, some guys wanted to do this to raise awareness.”

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While there has been considerable support in some quarters for Kaepernick, there has also been widespread disagreement with him and his compatriot’s actions, including from President Donald Trump, who called for any player who kneeled in protest to be fired. While Embach has no issue with the cause the NFL players are protesting, he believes there are potentially more effective ways of making their point. “I understand why they’re doing it, I just think there’s better ways to go about it,” he said. “You can raise awareness in a lot of different ways and one is drawing attention away from your team and your game which, I don’t think, is the right way. There’s people who are fighting for our freedom and who are losing their lives and I feel like, in a way, it’s a slap in the face to service members.”

On Saturday, Braehead Clan return to their home ice which, after a run of nine away games due to Braehead Arena being otherwise occupied by Disney on Ice, is, says Embach, hugely welcome. And having suffered defeats in their last two games, Embach knows that Braehead must step things up if they are to improve on their current league position of ninth. “A schedule like we had is not the easiest but we’d have liked to have gone 500 or better on the road so we came up one win short – so we just need to get back at it when we’re back on our ice,” he said. “The results weren’t exactly what we wanted but we’re finally done with that run on the road so it’ll be great to get back home on Saturday.”

Braehead’s opponents on Saturday are Fife Flyers and, after a volatile match the last time the pair met, this weekend’s game could be similarly fiery. “There’s a good rivalry between the two teams,” Embach said. “There were quite a few fights in the last match so hopefully we can stay out of the box this time and get the win.”