ICE HOCKEY: LEGENDARY Coventry Blaze skater Russell Cowley signed off his playing career at the weekend with a gold medal as Team GB secured promotion to the World Championship Division 1 Group A.
Cowley was part of the unbeatable Team GB squad which defeated Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Netherlands, and Japan in the space of six days to secure promotion to the second of the World Championship structure.
It was GB’s first promotion since 1993, and Cowley said the result against Japan was an amazing way to end his hockey career.
He said: “I’ve had so many successes as a player, this ranks up there with the best nights of my career.
“Belfast was the icing the cake, it was our best performance of the week by far and to win with a big home crowd was special.”
Cowley scored in Team GB’s second game – a 5-1 win over Estonia.
He now signs off after sixteen seasons and over 900 professional games.
Promotion was secured with two goals from Matthew Myers, a powerplay goal from Robert Dowd and a further goal from Brendan Brooks.
Team GB coach Peter Russell said: “This is the biggest moment of my career and it is a fantastic feeling.
“To do it on home ice in front of so many fantastic supporters really is amazing.
“Those boys deserve it. They were so focused all week. Nothing stopped them.
“I am so proud of every one of them and they deserve the promotion.
“I thought we were so good tonight from the first whistle and you could tell they were so up for it.”
In honour of Cowley’s achievements, his #17 jersey will be retired by the Coventry Blaze at the start of next season’s EIHL campaign.