Peterborough Phantoms captain James Ferrara says his decision to retire has been on the books for some time.
The 31-year-old has announced this will be his final campaign as the team prepare for the start of their NIHL National season on Saturday where they’ll face Bracknell Bees in their opener.
And he revealed there have been some contributing factors which has led to him deciding 2020 will be the year he finally hangs up his skates.
“If I’m honest, I made the decision quite a while ago,” Ferrara told the Phantoms website. “I spoke to Slava (Koulikov) a lot towards the end of last season and especially when we finished the season
“There was a stage I remember sitting down with him and saying I was 90% sure I was stopping after last season.
“But obviously we spoke a lot and I explained to him that I had a lot of factors to consider before committing to this season because I didn’t want to commit and only be 50%.
“I wanted it to be for the right reasons, what was best for my family and the circumstances we’re in. I made the decision quite a while ago, so I’ve come to terms with it and I’m happy about it.
“I’m looking forward to this season, building on the success of last year and I’m ready to give that a go for one final time.
“Many things factored into the decision, mainly family and my kids and everything relating to that. My situation at work at has changed, having a promotion and having to put more time into that, so our expanding family means that I just can’t be able to commit 100% in the long term.
“I’m happy with what I’ve achieved and happy that my commitment now is to my family and seeing them growing up and succeeding.”
Ferrara joined the Peterborough junior set-up, playing for the Pythons in 2000-01 before making his bow with the Phantoms in the 2003/04 campaign.
He played in the Elite League with Nottingham Panthers for three years where he won a Challenge Cup and a play-off title, before returning to the Phantoms in 2009, where he has remained.
HIs brothers, Luke, who plays for Coventry Blaze and Robert, a team-mate at the Phantoms, have all played together in Peterborough as well.
His retirement will also be marked with the retirement of his #17 jersey at the end of the season
Phantoms head coach Slava Koulikov paid tribute to his captain and was pleased he got the chance to work with him for one last season.
He said: “As a coach you plan your team ahead and you can start planning a year ahead. Jimmy was one of the players I spoke to around Christmas and the question came up about him retiring at the end of the treble season.
“We had numerous conversations and discussed everything. He has a life outside of hockey and knows where he’s aiming to be in a year or so.
“He’s a huge part of our team so I told him my plans for the following season and a few conversations later, we came up with a solution that would allow him to play for one more year.
“I was very pleased that we could keep him for one more season even if it’s the last season and that’s how we went forward.
“I don’t know a player in the room in the five and a half years I’ve worked here that doesn’t like Jimmy and I think fans like him, too.
“Everything he brought into this club. Everything he’s done, he deserves to have his jersey retired.
“It’ll be a proud moment for Jimmy, his family, and it’s another piece of history for him on top of winning trophies. He fully deserves this and for me to go forward looking up at his jersey, it’ll make me proud to know I worked with someone like this.”