After almost 700 games - around half of which were played in Lightning's colours - MK Lightning netminder Barry Hollyhead has announced his retirement from the sport. His decision marks the end of a career spanning 22 years in the EPL and BNL.
Barry first signed for MKL a decade ago in summer 2002, bringing with him a wealth of experience gained in Telford, Lancashire, Solihull, Cardiff and Coventry. In 2004 he returned to play in Telford but after a gap of two seasons he returned to Milton Keynes, where his goaltending was instrumental in helping Lightning to win several pieces of silverware. For the 2009 season Barry had the second-highest shots saved average in the entire EPL at 92.2 per cent.
Barry has paid tribute to Lightning and their supporters today, and to Alex Mettam who recently re-signed with the club. "I would like to thank the club's management, fans and players past and present for a great eight years in MK", he said. "My wife Tracy, our son Archie and myself have thoroughly enjoyed our time here and have some great memories. In particular I want to thank 'the corner gang', who have looked after Tracy and Archie, taking Tracy on many a 'road trip', and kept Archie occupied during games.
"I considered playing one more season, but due to some unforeseen circumstances this is now not possible. So, after thinking about it I have decided to call it a day on my playing career which has given me the pleasure of playing for Telford, Blackburn, Solihull, Coventry and Milton Keynes. I have enjoyed every season but especially my time in MK and Telford. But I'm leaving MK in very safe hands in Alex Mettam - he's an outstanding goalie and has already proven this, even at a young age.
"I wish the team and fans all the best for both the coming season and the future. And with Archie learning more MKL chants by the day, we will have to bring him down to some games next season - he's a Lightning fan already!"
Head coach Nick Poole thanked Barry for his long term contribution to the club's fortunes, saying: "Barry has been instrumental over the last eight years in not only helping us win trophies, but in helping to create a team environment that is second to none. He's been a rock for us and has provided us with the base to create a very tight defense, and he gave the team great confidence whenever he played. He has been a massive part of many of our trophy winning campaigns and was always a dependable performer in the big games. I can't thank him enough for his hard work, his talent and his professionalism. He has been a fantastic servant to MKL and we will miss his unflappable and confident nature.
"However we feel we need to freshen up the roster and unfortunately this means we can't bring back every team mate that we'd like to. Although it saddens us, we feel this is the right move for the club and we wish Barry and his family the very best for the future - and in whatever capacity he comes back to MK he knows he'll always receive a very warm welcome".