WHEN IT’S OVER
To say it’s been quite a week for Coventry Blaze is putting it mildly, with three players all leaving for different reasons.
While Kelin Ainsworth and Miika Wiikman have moved on and taken other opportunities, you can’t help but feel for defenceman Trey Lewis, who was advised to retire on medial grounds immediately.
Lewis had been a steady performer for Danny Stewart’s men, even if their results weren’t as good as they would have hoped so there’s no doubt this news would have been a devastating bombshell, not least for the player himself.
The exact nature of his issue is not known and no-one’s business but his, but obviously carries enough of a threat if a medical professional is telling him to give up the game straight away.
What happens for players in that situation now? What do they do? A lot of professionals are lucky enough to be able to walk away on their own terms. Whether it be because of employment opportunities, family reasons or their own body is telling them enough is enough.
There’s usually a plan there for when the skates are ready to be hung up. It may take a period of transition, but at least, mentally, the player is ready to take on that next stage of their life.
For Lewis, it’s quite different. He would have envisaged his time ending here in March or April, returning home, taking a few weeks rest then contemplating his next move and perhaps another season either back in the UK or perhaps elsewhere.
Now the outlook is a lot more sudden and he’ll no doubt use the festive period to devise a way forward in his life – one that suits him.
To have that decision taken out of your hands must be one of the worst things for an ice hockey player to experience. To have your career stopped by someone other than yourself.
Whatever Trey Lewis does with his life from now on, I’m sure everyone in Coventry and around British Ice Hockey wishes him all the very best for the future.
Whatever he does go on to do, it won’t replace the buzz and adrenaline fuelled night of playing in front of a noisy crowd, but we can only hope it is fulfilling in the long run.
STARS RUN COMES TO A CRUEL END
As I stood at Braehead Arena on Sunday, waiting to speak to my next interviewee, my phone buzzed and my heart sunk a little when I saw the notification.
Sheffield Steelers had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with two goals in the last minute followed by a cruel overtime winner over Dundee Stars.
Omar Pacha seemed upbeat and confident when I texted him earlier in the day so my thoughts at that moment turned to him and how he must have felt.
He has never beaten Steelers as a coach, 29 attempts now and you sensed that was the best chance of them all.
Regardless, Dundee have found a way to win which will serve them well going forward. They were denied what would have been a record seventh straight EIHL win, but now they’ve got the components there to keep them in that play-off hunt.
Many successes in sport have come from adversity. In an almost perverted way, this could be a good thing for the Stars in the long run.
It may be hard to see that now, but Dundee and Omar will take a lot from that game.
TEDDY BEARS LIGHT UP THE LEAGUE
We’re in that time of year and we’re seeing soft toys thrown from the stands to help out kids in need over Christmas.
Teams up and down the country are collecting these and the response is always breathtaking. No matter how big or small the toy is, it can make a world of difference to a poor child.
Hockey players will tell you the profound effect it has on them visiting these children in local hospitals and once again, fans have done their bit.
The hashtag #hockeyfamily is never more relevant than this. Well done, everyone.