Those We Have Loved & Lost

2013_Great_Britain_champion_Nottingham_Panthers
The new hockey season is almost upon us. As we look forward to returning to the NIC and beyond with a new roster, it’s time to pay tribute to those who played a part in Panthers outstanding success last season but are unlikely to return or have moved to pastures new…

Matthew Myers
After eight seasons in the Black & Gold, the rumours of Myers returning to his home town Devils finally came true. Panthers loss is most certainly Cardiff’s gain.
Myers development has been excellent in his time with us, remember he was icing part-time for the club while studying for his degree and then holding down a full-time job. Becoming a full-time pro was the making of him, he instantly became a better player and earned a season in the ECHL. On his return to the UK we had an import quality Brit on our hands and he was a lynchpin in our recent trophy success, the sort of player a coach can build a squad around.
He signed off his Panthers career in style, a hat-trick in the Play-Off Semi-Final against the Devils on his way to earning his ninth winners medal with the club.

Marc Levers
Perhaps one of the most reliable players to wear the Panthers shirt, Levers has moved on to Peterborough Phantoms in the EPL.
You always got 100% from him every shift he was on the ice without fail. While he was never going to be amongst the top point scorers on the roster he always seemed to have a knack of popping up with an important goal, especially in important games.
Having been used as the spare player during last season it was no surprise to me that he has left in search of more ice time, something he should get at Peterborough.
Good luck to him, he deserves every success.

Guillaume Lepine
He came to Panthers as an enforcer and left the team as a reliable & solid defenceman. Of course, he could look after himself and the team, and certainly won more fights than he lost, but it was his defensive ability that came to the fore in three successful seasons for the club and his stature at the back played a massive part in seven trophy wins in the three seasons he has been part of the squad. He will now ice for Evansville Icemen in the ECHL, not doubt still looking for that chance in the AHL and beyond.

Jordan Fox
What can you say about Jordan Fox that hasn’t already been said? It became obvious how much he wanted to win and the lengths he was prepared to go to when he played the 2012 play-offs with a slipped discs in his back. To play in what must have been immense pain and still produce outstanding performances deserves an incredible amount of respect.
Returning as captain he unselfishly played most of the season on defence, but still produced top class performances as well as scoring a quite superb goal against Sheffield and the winner in the Play-Off Final. His ability and impact will be sorely missed.
Jordan will be playing for St. Charles Chill in the CHL this coming season.

Jason Beckett
Jason was aptly dubbed ‘Bad-ass Beckett’ by my mates son, a title that is perfect for him. He is an excellent defenceman, but not only that he could also stand up for himself and his team when needed (who will forget that fight with Simon Ferguson in Sheffield).
Solid and dependable on the blue-line, he did his job, and while he won’t have received the limelight reserved for the top point scorers, let it be known that Jason Beckett was a massive part of last seasons success. He will be missed.

David Ling
In my opinion, simply the best player to play in the UK in the Elite League era. We were told he was too old, we were told he was lazy, we were told he was a liability, he was actually none of those things.
Ling had a unique ability to open up the opposition defence with a superb pass or a strike on net. The way he brought his line-mates into a game was breathtaking to watch at times.
As well as his playing ability he was also one of the biggest wind-up merchants we’ve ever had playing for us!
I hope we haven’t seen the last of him in a Panthers jersey.

Bruce Graham
After a slow start Bruce became one of the most feared marksmen in the league. Using his size and reach to his advantage, he built up a great understanding with David Ling, especially on the Powerplay. It’s hard to pick out which of the many goals he scored was the most important, but I’ll go for his goal in the title decider in Belfast, scored less than a minute after the Giants had gone ahead. He’s another player that leaves big skates (literally & figuratively) to fill.

Patrick Galivan
If Pat Galivan did nothing else last season, he will always be remembered as the man who scored the game winning goal that won us that elusive league title. Perhaps one of the most maligned players on the roster if you looked at the forums, but he always seemed to find a way to pop up with that important goal when it was needed.

Kelsey Wilson
Came in mid-season and gave the team an edge. While most will bring up the two-handed slash on Sheffield’s Simon Ferguson, others will remember his presence on the ice and how very few opposition players took any liberties while he was around.
Wasn’t the most prolific of points scorers but he wasn’t there for that, he was there to create room for his line mates and keep the other team honest, a role that he played excellently.

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