Belfast Telegraph

It's fitting Shields will retire at top of his game: GB's Russell


Final chapter: Giants ace Colin Shields will retire at the end of the season
Final chapter: Giants ace Colin Shields will retire at the end of the season
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Great Britain head coach Pete Russell has hailed Belfast Giants and GB legend Colin Shields after the winger announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

After a glittering 16-year professional career, following stand-out performances at junior and college level in the USA, Shields will bring the curtain down on his time at the top level following Great Britain's World Championship tilt over the summer.

Shields has been a long-standing servant for both the Belfast Giants, whom he has represented for 11 seasons, and for Great Britain and has been a consistent points producer for both, setting records for club and country.

He will retire as the Giants' all-time leading appearance holder (611), goal points (245), assist points (390) and overall points scorer (635), as well as bowing out as GB's leading goalscorer with 42.

On the international stage he is fifth in caps with 89, but should he play in all of GB's games in Slovakia at the World Championships then he could jump up to third, while he is second in the all-time points list, only bettered by Tony Hand.

He is also one of only three GB players to be drafted in the NHL, taken in round six, 195th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2000, and although he never made it to the top level, the 39-year-old has forged a highly successful career regardless.

It is somewhat fitting that Shields will end his career by testing himself at the highest level of international ice hockey at the World Championships for the first time.

The Scottish winger will retire as a two-time Elite League champion - providing the Giants don't overhaul the Cardiff Devils at the top this season - and a two-time Challenge Cup winner, along with a Knockout Cup crown. With Great Britain, his gold medals in the Division 1B and 1A triumphs are pride of place in the trophy cabinet.

Russell said: "Colin is someone I have known for 30 years. He has won it all domestically and has been a top-class talent throughout his career.

"Colin is a great person and has been a fantastic player for the national team. He has a scoring record that will be very tough to beat. He is finishing at the top of his game and there is no better way to go out."

Shields will still finish the season with the Belfast Giants, who are back in Elite League action tonight when they travel to the Coventry Blaze (face-off 7.30pm).

With three games remaining, the gap between the Giants and league leaders the Cardiff Devils is just four points, so it's a must-win game for Adam Keefe's side.

In order to keep the pressure on the Devils, though, the Giants will have to buck their recent dreadful record outside of Belfast, which has seen them win just two of their last nine on the road.

It will be decided today whether forward David Rutherford can rejoin the line-up.

Andy Halliday insists there will be no hard feelings if Hibernian snub calls for Alan Stubbs' team to give Rangers a guard of honour tonight.

Ibrox supporters believe the Leith men should pay tribute to the newlyUllit aut di blaborestio. Fuga. Te

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