Telford Tigers have announced Canadian forward Dougie Clarkson will leave the club after this weekend.
The 30-year-old has been a revelation with Tom Watkins’ team, picking up 53 goals and 92 points in 31 games in all competitions this season.
But he revealed his reason for his departure is down to an opportunity back in Canada that is too good for him to turn down.
“This is the hardest decision I have ever had to make,” Clarkson said. “I know how hard Tom Watkins worked to get me here and the investments from the sponsors.
“But this has been a tough year mentally and physically and I made a decision earlier in the season that if I got a job offer back home I would take it. That is what’s happened.
“When I chose to come back and play, away from my family, I only wanted to come to Telford. Other teams in the league and other countries were options but I only wanted to come back to play here.
“I’ve been very lucky to play where I have and have had the career I’ve had and I have met some amazing people and made great friends along the way.
“It’s been a privilege to wear that Tigers jersey and to compete with this group for another year, but it’s time to finally start my second career back home with my family.”
Clarkson returned to Telford in the summer after a season back in Canada with ACH side Brantford Blast, but initially came to the UK in 2014 to sign for Cardiff Devils.
A year at Andrew Lord’s side, where he won the Challenge Cup and was followed by a season with Dundee Stars under Marc LeFebvre before moving to Telford in 2016.
His last games for the Tigers will be at home to Blackburn Hawks on Saturday before heading to Nottingham to take on the Lions on Sunday.
Watkins admits Clarkson’s decision came as a surprise, but says the team will work through it as the season gets into the business end.
“Doug has been playing through his notice for a few weeks now after informing us he is heading home for personal reasons,” he said.
“It certainly came as a shock and is a blow for the team which leaves a big a hole. But, as a team we will come together to collectively fill that gap.”