(Above: Greg Oddy in his first "exhibition" season in 1997. Provided by Jan Oddy)
We may never see another Australian player like Greg Oddy again.
He played in the first ever AIHL game in 2000. And on this day, in 2018 after 383 spectacular games, Greg Oddy is announcing he is stepping away from the Australian Ice Hockey League.
383 games. 615 points. 11 years as club captain. 1 Greg Oddy.
These just aren't numbers we are likely to ever see again.
His parents founded the Adrenaline and started the league. He was the only player to have involvement in every single season up until this point. Without question, Greg Oddy is the greatest Australian AIHL player to ever play.
He holds records that will never be broken. He has seen the league grow from day one.
Just look at his accomplishments:
- Adelaide Avalanche/Adrenaline player for 19 seasons (1999-2017) - Australian National Team Member for 17 years (1999-2015) - Australian Team Captain for three seasons - Adelaide Adrenaline captain for 11 seasons (2005-2016) - Most AIHL Games Played (383)
- Most AIHL Points (615) - Most AIHL Assists (347) - Most AIHL Goals (268) - Three time Goodall Cup Winner (2000,2001, 2009) - Founding member of the Adelaide Adrenaline - 3 Gold Medals for Team Australia, including promotion to Division 1 - Most points (118) in Australian National Team History
It's hard to describe what Greg Oddy meant to the club. To be honest he means everything. His record speaks for himself. His parents founded the club. He played every season in AIHL history.
Whether he was hurt or sick he showed up to every training no matter what. He is a leader and still is a great player.
(Above: Greg Oddy in Melbourne in 2017 before scoring his 600th point)
If this is "farewell" to a remarkable hockey career, there is no proper way to say thank you.
The club encourages all fans to head to our game on Saturday 19 May to say "THANKS" to Greg as we honour him pre-game vs. the Newcastle Northstars at 4:30PM. Tickets can be bought at www.bit.ly/adrenalinetickets.
Luckily, Greg will still be at most of our home games. He is also on the Heritage Committee and is one of the men tasked with preserving the great history of this club and honouring some of the great individuals that have existed in our 18 season history.
Greg was kind enough to write a few words about his spectacular career.
1) Why have you decided to step away?
The timing is right. It’s a big commitment playing in the AIHL. I’ve got a young family & with work it’s very difficult to do everything - something has to give.
My girls have just started school - they are my priority & focus. They are getting into sport. Things have just seemed to get a whole lot busier around the house this year.
There are things I also want to focus on outside of hockey. Basically, it’s a time thing.
2) Was this decision easy for you? Walk us through it.
It’s never easy giving up something you love, something that’s been a massive part of your life. This is not a keen jerk reaction. It’s something I’ve thought about a lot over the past few months.
I could have made the decision to walk away after last year. It was a tough year for the club results wise.
But I wanted to take some time away, come out to pre-season this year with a fresh mind and go from there.
It didn’t take me long to realise though I wasn’t going to be in a position to commit 100%. As a player, I’ve always been a strong believer you are either in or out. There is no in between.
I had to miss a few pre-season sessions, probably more this year than the last 17 seasons combined.
The writing was on the wall. I had to be honest to the club & myself.
The time is right to step aside. Luckily, I have some great people around me. My amazing wife who has been so supportive over the years, my beautiful girls who got to see my play and my family & friends who have been there since day one.
3) Can you take us through a few memories you have that stick out from the game?
Wow it’s been a wild ride. So many memories. The one thing that sticks out is the people I’ve met along the way.
The different parts of the world the game has taken to me.
Obviously playing for your country, wearing the green & gold is the pinnacle. I was fortunate to play 17 years with the National Men’s team before retiring in 2015. Looking back, we were able to achieve some pretty special things as a group. Winning gold in 2008 and again in 2011. Promotion to Division 1 - we created some history. And to share those moments with some of my closest friends made it that much better.
With the Avalanche/Adrenaline it was no doubt our 3 AIHL championships. All were very memorable & special for different reasons. Earlier days I’ll never forget playing alongside my brother and the success we had as a club. Fast forward to the last couple years and whilst we didn’t enjoy the success we did in previous years I thoroughly enjoyed it. Getting to play alongside some of my best mates and also help fast track some of the younger kids who will now lead the club into the future is something I won’t forget.
None of this would have been possible though without my parents (Steve & Janet) & the Thilthorpe’s. They created this club. They played a massive part in creating the AIHL. I saw first-hand what they went through trying to get his club/league up and running and the sacrifices they made. They gave us kids & so many others so many opportunities and I cannot thank them enough.
(above: Greg Oddy with his father Steve after registering his 600th AIHL point. Photo: Frank Kutsche)
Finally, I got to play in front of my kids. I’m not sure how much they’ll remember but they are definitely memories I’ll cherish and take with me forever.
4) What has the Adelaide Adrenaline meant to you?
The Adelaide Adrenaline has meant everything to me. It’s been my life since we played our first exhibition game in 1997.
I will miss stepping out on home ice in front of a packed house. The fans, so many different people that have come out & supported us over the years. I cannot thank you enough.
The coaching staff over the years, management, support staff – without you there is no club.
My team-mates – I’ll miss the banter in the rooms, the practices, the road trips. Going into battle with you each weekend.
The club has been like family to me the past 20 years. It’s been one of the best periods of my life. So many people have been involved in this journey and I cannot thank you enough.
John Botterill has been there since day one really when I started skating. Been a fantastic coach over the years, record speaks for itself. Coached the club to 3 AIHL Championships. Absolute legend of the club and hockey in Australia. Someone I can always pick up the phone and have a chat to, pick his brain anything hockey related.
I also need to thank Don/Shirley Rurak, Kevin Brown with Ice Hockey Australia and later with the adrenaline. Great support over my career, the National team was always in good hands with them. Instrumental in the success of the National Men’s team over that period
5) What advice would you give the kids?
Work hard - always look for ways to improve your game. Some of the best advice I’ve been given is “champions are made when nobody is watching”. Playing hockey in Australia we don’t get access to a whole lot of ice time so it’s what you do away from the rink in your own time that can make all the difference. The training aspect is something I’ve always enjoyed.
Attitude is everything. Don’t get too ahead of yourself. If you find yourself going down this path head overseas and play. That’ll put you in place pretty quickly.
And finally have fun. Don’t lose sight of what the game is all about. Enjoy the moment.
6) There are lots of new faces on the team. Do you think the team can succeed?
Rebuilding isn’t a term you hear much in the AIHL. Each year every team comes in with hope & feeling like a contender. Teams can improve pretty quickly, sign the right imports, take local talent off other teams by offering opportunities outside of hockey. There are ways to fast track and build a young team into a contender really quickly. The Adrenaline this year are no different. Young squad, they’re hungry and obviously want to prove themselves. The coaching staff have done a great job surrounding them with really strong imports. I’m excited to sit back & cheer the boys on this year. I have no doubt they’ll surprise a few teams.