Tributes to "ultimate team player" Russell Cowley
After sixteen seasons and well over 900 games, #17 Russell Cowley will hang up his skates following the 2016/17 Elite League season (full story).
A number of former coaches and league representatives have taken time to pay tribute to the man who proudly sits top of the all-time appearances list for the Genting Casino Coventry Blaze (920+).
Head Coach, Coventry Blaze, teammate and oppenent
"Russ has been a great ambassador for this club for many years. His commitment to the Coventry Blaze for so long just begins to scratch the surface of what he has done here. Numerous trophies, selfless play and the ultimate team player are just a few of his attributes and shape what type of player and person he has been, and continues to be. Russ is always a guy that puts the team first. He has played every position there is at different points in his career. He bought into whatever was asked of him for the better of the team. I had the pleasure of being alongside him as a player, and now as a coach, he is the definition of Coventry Blaze through and through. I sure hope our current group will go out and play for him in the short time he has left, as he has done for them, and many others throughout his career!"
Former Blaze Head Coach - current Assistant Coach, Rochester Americans
Former Blaze Head Coach and teammate - current Head Coach, Dundee Stars
"I was fortunate enough to be both a teammate and coach of Russell's during his tremendous career. He is the consummate professional on and off the ice. A true leader that was a main cog in helping the Blaze win many trophies over his career. I wish him nothing but the best in his new career and in life"
Former Blaze Head Coach and teammate
"Russ Cowley has been a great servant to the Blaze for more years than I can remember. He always did what the coaches asked of him, playing both as a D-man and forward. I wish him all the best in the future."
Former teammate and opponent, currently Dundee Stars
"I personally couldn't think of a better person to don the Blaze jersey. One that gave his absolute best each and everyday, was willing to play whatever role asked (I bet he'd even go in net), and was a fantastic representative of the club in the community. Russ made it fun going to the rink while I was there (unfortunately I had to sit beside him) and his efforts were absolutely never questioned. A true Blaze legend forever."
Former opponent - current Managing Director, Cardiff Devils
"I have a lot of respect for Russ Cowley, of what he has accomplished on and off the ice. I actually tried very hard to sign him a couple of times when I was in Belfast but he stuck with the Blaze. His loyalty has been rewarded and he has won alot of titles with Coventry. I am sure he has always had one eye on his post-hockey career based on his commitment to his education and I am sure he will make a smooth transition into life after hockey. Everyone at the Devils wish him well and hopefully he has as much success in the next phase of his life."
Note: Former Blaze Head Coach Paul Thompson's words on Russell will be shared on the jersey retirement during the 2017/18 Elite League season.