Nottingham Panthers forward Robert Lachowicz admits he’s both nervous and excited as the day of his testimonial finally arrives.
Panthers legends have been arriving ahead of the game at the Motorpoint Arena, including former coach Corey Neilson and David Ling as they get ready to honour their former team-mate.
And the GB international says he’s humbled to have been part of a team that enjoyed so much success during his time with the club, stretching back to the 2007-08 season.
“I’m getting a little nervous now to be honest and it gets put aside with the current season of games, you don’t realise just how quickly it come around,” Lachowicz said.
“I’ve been in contact with a couple of the guys coming back and they’re really excited, so it’s all getting real now.
Great to have Corey Neilson back for the Lachowicz Testimonial.
— Lachowicz Invitational 2019 (@L7invitational) October 14, 2019
“When I first signed, it was a bit surreal. It was a team I watched as a kid and I came through the youth system there so to be there and be part of the team was a special moment. It was an opportunity I wanted to grab with both hands.
“We’ve had some good teams over the years and to be part of them, it’s nice to be a part of that and knowing you had some input in the success.
“From the comments and feedback I’ve seen, there’s a lot of positivity about it and I hope everyone enjoys what will be a good night.”
Lachowicz’s testimonial will see the current crop of players coming up against the faces of old in a four-team tournament, along with a skills competition and shootout.
It promises to be a big night for a player who has won six Challenge Cups, four play-offs, a league title and a Continental Cup in his career.
It’s the first of a few testimonials this season for various players in the league, with the likes of Lachowicz’s former team-mate Matthew Myers, Matt Haywood, Ross Venus and Mark Garside all due special nights this season.
And Lacho is thrilled to see those players he knows well as team-mates or opponents be rewarded for their services as well as he outlined what he regards as the biggest changes during his career.
He added: “It’s a year of testimonials all over the place and the guys being honoured by their teams, I’ve enjoyed coming up against them down the years.
“It’s good there’s a lot of loyalty in the league for these guys and some of them I played with in the juniors and I’m happy for them to have their nights too.
“Since I came in, I would say the biggest changes have been the overall quality of the league, which has improved. We’ve had some very good players playing here, making it harder.
“It’s been good for British players as we’ve had to adapt and I think it’s helped us improve as well, on and off the ice. Playing in the CHL and seeing those teams in the higher leagues and see their operations and that’s something we’re doing ourselves.
“It pays off if the club take those methods on, you keep the players happy and they’re happy to put everything into the games.”
Tickets are priced at £15 adults and £13 concession (seniors 60+, students with suitable ID, disabled/carers & teens 13 to 17) and £5 for children.
There will be a small arena facility fee on each ticket.
Under-2s are free of charge when not occupying a seat, but a wristband will need to be requested from a steward on the day.
Only the lower half of the arena bowl will be open for the night, so all tickets are on general sale.
To buy tickets please visit the arena website www.motorpointarenanottingham.