19th of April 2017
Farewell to Matt TowalskiOne of British hockey's modern stalwarts called time on his career at the end of the 2016/17 season as Matt Towalski hung up his skates for the final time.
The 33-year-old signed off in style from the Sherfield School Basingstoke Bison, after being named the Coaches Player of the Year by Doug Sheppard, who was full of praise for the forward.
"It's fair to say that they don't make players like Matt Towalski these days. He's a guy that gave us 100% on the ice, every shift, backed up by a love of the game.
"It has been a pleasure coaching Matt over the past season-and-a-half. He was always willing to play whatever role I gave him, all in the name of trying to win each and every night.
"The sport in this country will be lesser now that Matt has retired, but everyone associated with the club would like to wish him and his wife Kayli the very best for the future."
Matt added, "It is a sad moment to bring my career to an end - but I can look back with pride on all that I achieved within the sport.
"Certainly the last year and a half I spent in Basingstoke will be amongst the most memorable of my career - obviously highlighted by winning the league title in 2016.
"It's been a great pleasure to play for the club - from icing for Doug Sheppard, along with the great bunch of guys in the dressing room to a brilliant fanbase here - they are memories I will treasure forever and I would like to thank everyone for their support over the years."
Born in Stafford in 1984, it would be in Slough where Matt learned his trade as a player - breaking through to the Jets senior team in the BNL during the 2000/01 season.
It is there he would remain as the club transitioned into the EPIHL, with his formative years being celebrated with call-ups to the Great Britain u18's and u20's team, winning the full set of medals, culminating with a gold for the u20's in the 2003-04 season.
Overall, Matt appeared 14 times for his country, scoring 11 goals in a points haul of 20.
Matt would depart the Jets in the summer of 2005 and begin his love affair with the Milton Keynes Lightning. Immediate success would follow in the 2006 Playoffs before clinching a league title with the Lightning in 2009/10.
During seven seasons at the club, Matt would make 388 competitive appearances and registering 156 points.
Matt would return to Berkshire in the summer of 2012, once again lacing his skates for the Slough Jets in the EPIHL. His two seasons at the club saw him bring up 500 appearances in the league, as well as ending their time in the league as the club's alternate captain.
Across his two spells at the Hangar, Matt would make 243 appearances before making the move down the M4 to Bracknell, where his career would continue for a season and a half - before making Basingstoke the final stop in his storied career - collecting one final piece of silverware as the Herd lifted the EPIHL crown in 2016.
All associated with the Sherfield School Basingstoke Bison would like to wish Matt the very best for his future and thank him for his time in the Bison jersey.