Today the Knights Select will take on the Lancers Select to end the 2017/2018 season, however before the game we will be bestowing the greatest honour a hockey club can give to any of its players by retiring their number, and the number 15 worn by David Stafford will be going up to the rafters. We asked some of the players for their thoughts on today’s game, and the shirt retirement.
Lancers captain Ben Clarke was the first to come forward in providing his throughs on the SheffClassico “So the prospect of playing in the sheffclassico and being captain is a huge honour especially the retirement of Dave Stafford’s jersey. This means a lot to be selected as captain and lead one of the teams onto the rink. The main thing is to remember a gentleman who enjoyed hockey and was very passionate about the sport, also he always wanted the best for the club. The retirement of Daves jersey will mean he will always be a knight and will always be remembered for everything he has done. If anyone has time to support a great charity and maybe see a bit of hockey on Saturday evening then get yourself down to Simply Skate.”
Spartans player Dave Paget also shared his thoughts, and although is missing from today’s SheffClassico, has been an integral part of the clubs year “Saturday’s game marks the end of a contrasting season for me and I believe the same is probably true for each of us. It began in the worst way possible with Dave dying on September 1st. The effect that this has had on the team has been a massive part of the whole season. Personally, I enjoyed being part of the Spartans team as the camaraderie was brilliant and I’m just sorry my advancing years prevented me from taking a more active role in the latter stages of the season when the numbers started to dwindle. The design of the rink in Rotherham helps the off-ice relationships. The parents, partners (and Brandon) can socialise in a way not possible at other venues I have been to and this helps with team bonding meaning that those who do not venture on the rink can also feel part of our team.
We’re not top of the league material in terms of results but I really believe we’re way out in front when it comes to being a great ‘team’. The way we pulled together when Dave died and cared for Andy and Sarah; the various fund raising events that the team is involved with; Jay’s food bank, the tournaments that wouldn’t happen unless Dave organised them; the way we encourage newcomers and then put them straight in the team; the evening with the Roundabout guys (last season); together with the numerous other events that I don’t get to find out about. My Duke of Edinburgh expedition unfortunately conflicts with this weekend’s game but it is a fitting way to wrap up the season. Hopefully everyone will have a good time and enjoy the occasion honouring Dave and celebrating the fact that we are a fantastic team.”
It’s sure to be a great day of hockey, and we look forward to seeing you down at the rink to help us sign off the 2017/2018 season