FORMER Sheffield Steelers star Rhett Gordon admitted it was “pretty special” after he marked his retirement by lifting the Elite League play-off trophy following Nottingham Panthers’ 2-0 win over Cardiff Devils in the final.
The Canadian forward, 35, returned to Britain in January having played for Ayr Scottish Eagles and Steelers in the Superleague.
But after revealing he would be hanging up his skates after the game, captain Danny Meyers allowed Gordon to raise the trophy as Panthers celebrated a second successive play-off triumph.
Gordon said: “Even though I have only been here two months, the way the guys have treated me and my family, it has been fantastic.
“When I came here I knew I was coming to a good club and I was pretty excited. To go out like this is fantastic.
“A lot of people back home knew it was my last game and it was pretty special. If you can do it, it is obviously the way you want to go out.
“I didn’t know about it but I think the guys talked about it before. They knew it was my last game - it was a very classy move by Danny and the organisation.”
David Beauregard scored the game-winning goal for the second successive year while David Clarke added an insurance marker with seven seconds left after Devils pulled goaltender Stevie Lyle.
Panthers netminder Craig Kowalski posted a 23-shot shut-out as Devils lost in the final for the third year in a row and for the fourth time in six years.
Prior to face-off, referee Moray Hanson was presented with a magnum of champagne after announcing this would be his last game.
The former netminder, 47, has been involved in the sport for 38 years and holds a unique record of having represented Great Britain in Pool A as a player and a referee.
He said: “This was a very difficult decision and I thought long and hard about it but I feel the time is right for me to retire.”