Nottingham Lions would like to wish Chris Colegate all the best with his testimonial game tomorrow afternoon.

Since 1999, the still sprightly, 27 year old has iced for both the Nottingham Junior Ice Hockey Club and the Lions.

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Chris played in the ED1 (now the ENL) in the 1999/2000 season and then went onto play for two seasons in the English Premier League (EPL) 2000/01 and 2001/02 as the team stepped up in class to play against the pros. During this period Chris weighed in with 9 goals and 8 assists in 28 games (2001-02) and 9 goals and 6 assists in 32 games (2002-03).

The left winger struck up a lethal partnership with Joe Wightman that has tormented many a defence and netminder over the years and has led the team to many successful campaigns.

Current Lions Coach Matt Bradbury brought Chris through to the Lions from the junior set up to make the big step into senior hockey at only 15 years of age and Matt spoke to this week about Colegate’s time with the organisation;

“He was not the biggest guy on the ice, but what I saw in him when he first came through to the Lions was how hard he worked, how much heart and passion he had for the game and this was clear to see at such an early age.”

“He is still a great player to this day and such a true professional.  All players look up to Chris and he was always that go to guy and he never let his team mates down.”

“Chris deserves this day and we hope he has a great night, cherishes it and the fans turn out in his honour.”

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Back in December, Chris picked up and injury against Telford having played in 15 games but having already racked up 10 goals and 15 assists, he still finished third top points scorer in the team and Bradbury was in no doubt what a big loss to the team he was;

“As the season has gone on we lost our Captain on the ice and we have missed his experience and I’m quite sure we wouldn’t be in the position we are in right now if Chris had managed to play. “

“I remember he was asked in a player’s questionnaire given to him in the 2000-01 season, what four important qualities he could bring to the Lions squad, he answered – “Commitment, Positive Attitude, High Work Rate and Never Quit” – there is no doubt that Chris stuck to his word and gave all this and so much more!”

Congratulations to Chris from all at The Lions Pride!

Sunday, 22 January 2012.