Rod Sarich has followed fellow Steeler veterans Jeff Legue and Jason Hewitt into retirement.
Sheffield’s 10-season defencemen hangs up his skates on a high after winning back-to-back championships.
It’s the second time he’s effectively quit. After a season out of action, Gerad Adams persuaded him to return to the club. But now the 35-year-old has decided he cannot continue to juggle full-time sports, office work and other family commitments.
Sarich is fifth in the club’s all time appearances (577 games.)
Coach Paul Thompson said it was a huge loss: “What a servant to the club Rod has been. We talk about players giving their all for a club, Roddy almost ended up giving his life for the Steelers” (a reference to Sarich’s injury in 2013 where he lost part of a kidney.)
“Rod didn’t want the fanfare of leaving us and asked us to not include him in the post-season celebrations that included Hewey and Leggy. That’s the kind of guy Rod is, we wanted to wave the flags for him because he has been an exceptional player and a huge part of this organisation. We respected his wishes and he leaves us with every ounce of respect we have.
“He is a smart player. He will be a tough component to replace this summer. I’ve coached against Rod and he was a pain in my side.
“In years to come he will be talked about as one of the Steeler greats. He had many qualities. His relationship with Jeff Legue on the power-play was a reason this club won for so many years.”
The coach added: “Rod has a full time career and has just become a father so he will have his hands full I’m sure.
“He is a huge loss for loss. An absolute quality individual. We repeat his decision but that doesn’t mean we will forget him or miss him hugely.”