Late last night club management were informed by Head Coach James Neil of the shock decision that long serving defence man and club stalwart Ollie Lomax has made the decision to retire from playing ice hockey with immediate effect.
It is with a heavy heart and reluctantly that we have had to accept Ollie’s decision.
Blackburn Hawks management, coaching staff and fellow team mates would like to thank Ollie for the commitment and passion he has shown for the club over his career and wish him and his family all the best for the future.
Blackburn born and bred, Ollie has spent most of his hockey career at Blackburn from 2002, and his first match in a Blackburn Hawks shirt came in 2003. Playing for the Hawks became more and more regular before he became a permanent fixture in 2007. Apart from 8 appearances for Billingham Bombers in 2008-2009, the rest of Ollie’s playing career has been with the Hawks playing in a staggering 437 matches for the Hawks altogether, literally putting his body on the line, and wearing his heart on his sleeve.
Silverware came first in 2013 when Blackburn Hawks beat the Billingham Stars in the 2013 playoff final, then again as part of the ‘Invincibles’ team of 2014-2015 winning both the NIHL North 1 Moralee League, and the playoff trophy. They then achieved the ‘double-double’ when the league and playoff champions trophies spent a second year running in the hands of the Blackburn Hawks.
Ollie has been a loyal servant of the Hawks for many years and has always been unafraid of rolling his sleeves up and getting stuck in when needed, representing the club for press interviews, appearances at the hospital at Christmas time, and helping out with the various community visits with Chris Riley and fellow team members.
On Sunday night at our cup game versus Widnes Wild the Hawks will be honouring Ollie prior to the game and we would urge all supporters to arrive early so that we can all show our appreciation to Ollie and his family for the dedication and professionalism he has shown during his career.
Ollie has issued the following statement regarding his decision:
Firstly I just like to say what an amazing journey I have been on over the last 17 seasons I truly have lived out my dream playing for my town over 400 times.
Ultimately I have to make the right decision for myself, my beautiful family and the Club itself. That time has come.
I am indebted to many many people who have paved the way for my career with the Hawks:
Jim Pennycook who taught me how to play the game and to aim for the Hawks.
Ian Hough who taught me the way to play the game and what attitude to take out onto the ice every shift.
Bobby Haig who is the best player I ever got to share the ice with & who gave me my senior debut at the tender age of 15.
Jared Owen, Budzie & Dangy who put together the best team & delivered trophies to our fantastic club. If I have to choose a period of time that would no doubt be it, a great spell of winning.
Furthermore I’d like to thank every single team mate that I’ve shared the dressing room with, many memories and many laughs. I’d like to think that they all knew what they were going to get from me as a team mate.
Representing the Hawks is something I’m immensely proud of, & that will live long with me in my heart. I would literally do anything for the club, play any position, travel to any rink in any competition. As long as I had Blackburn on my chest there would be no backward steps & that is how I’d like to be remembered.
We have always had amazing fans and a great following at Blackburn & many of them have gone on to become really good friends of mine. Another special thing to take away with me.
A special mention has to go to Aaron Davies. What a man. We have formed an amazing bond over all this time & nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing him bang in goals week in week out. He truly is a Hawks legend. Please enjoy him & appreciate him while he is still there.
I’d like to thank my family, which without their undying love & support none of this would ever have happened to me. My Mum & Dad financially as well as investing every minute of time into the sport took me literally everywhere to play & I am forever in their debt. I hope that I have done them proud in my time in a Hawks shirt. I now have an incredible wife and two amazing daughters Nicole, Layla & Freya who have supported me every step of the way. I can’t wait to start spending some real quality family time together.
Lastly, if I can give anyone any advice about the game of hockey it would be to do the things that no one else will, play with pride no matter what and play with the biggest smile you’ve got. Always.
See you on the other side and never be afraid to say hello, you might just have to pass me a tissue for a little while first. No backward steps.
Ollie Lomax #21
Hawks head coach James Neil commented, “Well what can I say about Oll, we go way back, to U10’s in fact, and not much has changed. Yes Still the smallest guy on the ice but boy does he have the biggest heart. Forever doing what it takes on and off the ice for the club he truly loves. Loyal, Honest, passionate and just an out right top guy”.
“I understand how hard this is going to be for him but myself and the everyone at the club will support him with whatever he needs, knowing Oll, even though he won’t be playing I’m sure he will still be a huge part of this club with the legacy he’s left”.
“Everyone in Blackburn should be privileged to have had the services of such a hard working, devoted and unique character for such a long time. I’d like to thank Oll for his time and efforts whilst I’ve been at the club, you’ve helped out massively and most of all you’ve been a first class team mate”.
“I hope everyone can get down to the game this Sunday to show there appreciation to someone who could only be described as a Hawks legend”.
“The size of a mouse, with the heart of a lion”.