Belfast Giants forward Colin Shields admits he’s nervous as he gears up for one of the biggest nights of his career.
The 37-year-old Scot will be honoured with a testimonial to mark his years of service with the Giants and old team-mates and those associated will be there to celebrate his contribution.
And while he admits it’s could an emotional occasion for him, he’s focussed on helping deliver a night to remember for everyone heading to the SSE Arena on Tuesday.
“I’m probably a bit nervous about it as we get closer to the night,” he said. “There’s a lot of work that’s gone into putting an event on like this.
“I’m very fortunate to have this put for me by everyone involved and hopefully we’ve done enough of a good job planning things where everything goes well on the night.
“There’s also been a lot of backroom staff who have worked tirelessly and put a lot into it so it will be a good night for the fans.
“I’m looking forward to it though and as well as the dinner and draft on Monday. By the time the game comes around, everything should be set to go.”
Shields first joined the Giants in 2005, signed by coach Ed Courtenay after trying his luck in the East Coast League in North America.
He left a couple of times to try his hand elsewhere, but always ended up back in Belfast, where he’s built a life for himself.
So, with Belfast about to show their appreciation for him, what does the Giants and the city mean to him?
“It’s a great organisation to be part of, with a great following and fans support and I think the way you’re treated here is first class,” he added.
“It’s not hard to describe what Belfast means to me and it’s more than just a game of hockey and I think it symbolises something more.
“Ownership groups down the years have created a sense of community, a real family based atmosphere and no matter who you are, you feel part of something bigger.
“That’s all you can ask for when you’re looking for a job or a business to work for, something that means far more than yourself.
“It means a lot more to people than the game and you can see it in the faces of the people in the stands and how passionate they are. I’m very proud to be part of that.”
Photo: William Cherry/Press Eye