Belfast Giants forward Ciaran Long revealed GB hero Ben Davies was the player that injured him, forcing him out of the World Championships, but he’s happy to let him off.
Long was heartbroken to miss the trip to Slovakia with Pete Russell’s team, but his support, despite his disappointment, never wavered.
And he spoke of where he was when Davies scored that incredible winner in overtime against France to keep them in the top group.
“That last game against France was insane and I’d never celebrated like that in all my life when Ben Davies scored that goal in overtime,” he said.
“Missing out on the World Championships was hard to take and I was absolutely gutted I didn’t get the chance to go, after being involved in the warm-ups and practice.
WATCH: The moment Ciaran Long forgave Ben Davies
“Even if I had been fully fit and didn’t make the team, I would have still supported them and the boys did a great job out there.
“I had been working on the day of the France game and I was driving home, trying to get back quickly so I could watch it on the television. I had to listen to the first two periods on the radio and hoped to get home in time for the third, but I got caught in rush hour traffic.
“As it happened, I ended up hearing the whole game in the car and Ben scored just as I got home and parked the car outside the house. I didn’t even lock the car and sprinted into the house in celebration, dying to see the replay.
“It was absolutely incredible and a great finish by Ben. Funnily enough, it was him who caused my injury. He was the one who hit me with the puck in practice so he doesn’t owe me any more.”
Now the 28-year-old is gearing up for the new campaign with a new club, after leaving Manchester Storm to go to EIHL champions Belfast Giants.
— Ciaran Long (@Ciaran_Long_89) May 8, 2019
He says it was a natural step for him as he rubs his hands at the prospect of playing In the Champions Hockey League and is hoping to make himself as popular as one of their legendary players.
Long added: “It’s the right move for me at this stage in my career and I suppose it suits Giants too with Colin Shields retiring.
“I’m not going to say I’ll do what he did, because that’s crazy, but he’s a great role model to put myself against. Sheds was very popular too, so if I can emulate that at least, I’ll be happy with that.
“The Champions Hockey League is something I’m super excited for as well. I’ve yet to experience any of that of course, but after missing out with GB this year, this is the next best thing and I hope I can have a successful tournament.
“I didn’t see the draw at the time, but caught up with it later on and while I don’t know much about the teams we’ll be playing, it will be a great experience for me and for everyone in the organisation.”