Great Britain legend Colin Shields insists he’s more than content with his decision to retire despite helping GB stay in the top division of the World Championships in a dramatic day in Kosice.
The 4-3 overtime win over France marked the final chapter in the career of the veteran forward as the skates were finally hung up in one of the team’s truly memorable games.
And he says this is the culmination of the side’s progress as GB again ended a World Championship campaign with something to celebrate.
“It was a long ride and I’ve had a lot of great memories playing for clubs and the national team and I think this is the culmination of the last four or five years and everything we’ve been through,” he said.
“We’ve stuck with it and can be proud of what we’ve done. I look forward to watching and cheering on the boys in the top pool next year.
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“I’m definitely at peace with my decision and have been for the last couple of months. I knew this day would come and now it’s definitely the end. I’m content despite everything that’s happened today and now it’s on to the next chapter in my life.”
Shields reflected on what has undoubtedly been a tough nine days as GB suffered some heavy defeats as they worked to compete with the teams that are of a higher calibre.
And as he brought the curtain down on a glittering career, he revealed there was a late contender for one of his career highlights.
Forward Colin Shields @sheds19 plays his final professional game this afternoon before his retirement, as Great Britain play France in the World Championship.
— Team GB Ice Hockey (@TeamGBicehockey) May 20, 2019
He added: “We battled hard for the whole tournament and it wasn’t easy. With some of the results, it would have been easy to pack it in, but we’ve been through so much in the last four or five years with such a tight group and now they can look forward to next year.
“It’s tough to celebrate a seventh place finish I suppose, but for the programme and Great Britain ice hockey plus for the young players coming through, I think it’s massive and will open a lot of doors for kids. Also it’s great exposure for Ice Hockey UK as well.
“They can go and get another year under their belts and hopefully improve where it doesn’t come down to the last day again.
“To be lining up against Team USA was definitely one of the best moments of my career and taking on the NHLers you only see on television.
“I was unfortunate to miss out on the Canada game, which, to play them for the first time in 25 years would have been a special moment. But playing USA was special and it was a great opportunity to come up against them and get to battle and compete was fantastic.
“But I’m very proud and happy for the boys and the opportunity they have next year again in the same pool.”