DEFENCEMAN Steven Chalmers has thanked Coventry Blaze for their help and support after being forced to retire from ice hockey with immediate effect.
The Blaze number 28 has continued to struggle with a leg injury this season and consultations with top specialists have indicated that he faces a long term, intensive rehabilitation programme to be able to return to full fitness.
And much consideration, Chalmers has taken the decision to look forward to the next chapter in his life and therefore, with the club’s blessing, is to retire from playing.
Chalmers joined Blaze at the start of the 2012/13 season following spells with the Dundee Stars and Braehead Clan and went on the make over 175 appearances for the Coventry-based club.
He amassed over 250 EIHL appearances and scored eight goals as well as playing Great Britain at under 20 level.
“I just want to thank the whole Blaze organisation for giving me the opportunity to play for such a great club,” said Chalmers.
“I have really enjoyed my four years here and I can’t speak highly enough of how the Blaze have treated and looked after me, both now and throughout this time.
“I’ve made lifelong friends and I have memories that will last forever – especially winning the play offs last season.
“I also want to thank all the Blaze fans and my sponsors for all their support and for making me feel so welcome in Coventry.
“It’s been a difficult decision for me, but I know it’s the right decision. It’s time to start looking forward but I will never forget my time with the Blaze.”
Blaze chairman, Andy Buxton, said Chalmers was well well liked by everyone at the Skydome and he labelled him a ‘wonderful servant’ to the club.
“For such a young man, Steven has had a challenging year both on and off the ice and it’s easy to forget that he is a long way from home in Coventry,” said Buxton.
“He feels that he wants to look forward now, go back home to his family and begin the next phase of his career.
“He knows that, as we have always done, we will continue to support and help him as much as we possibly can. He’s become one of our own.
“Even though he is very much at peace with his decision, it’s still very raw for him and he’s not emotionally up for big goodbyes right now.
“I know that he is very popular with our supporters so we will try to find a time when things have settled down a little and we can get him to come back down to see us and have a proper send off.”