There is no more well known name in South Australian ice hockey than Greg Oddy. The living legend has won three Goodall Cups for Adelaide, multiple gold medals for Australia and owns just about every AIHL record there is.
He's also been a tremendous leader both on and off the ice. That's why he has been captain for past 11 seasons. In other words, he has proudly worn the 'C' over his heart for 272 Australian Ice Hockey League games and been the captain for just over 4,000 days.
But today Greg Oddy is stepping down from his post as Captain of the Adelaide Adrenaline.
Being a captain is takes tremendous responsibility and leadership but Oddy says the time is right. He says the decision was not easy but it was something he had been thinking about for a while.
He says the time is right to allow some new players the opportunity to lead.
"Ultimately I have a lot of increasing responsibilities outside of hockey like family and work and it takes a toll both mentally and physical. We have a few veterans on the team and some are edging closer to retirement. It's time to hand over the reigns to the younger players," he says.
"That said, there is no doubt I want to be a part of that future" he adds. "A smooth transition of the club is very important to me."
Oddy was voted as captain of the Adelaide Avalanche, the former name of the Adrenaline, in 2006 by his peers. He is the third captain in franchise history and helped lead the team to their last championship in 2009.
Just because Oddy is no longer wearing the 'C' does not mean he is done with his incredible career.
"I want to help these new leaders settle in to their roles. I ultimately want what is best for the playing group. When I became Captain in 2006 I was lucky enough to be surrounded by great veteran leaders," he says. "I want to do the same."
Oddy has a big year ahead of him. He says part of his decision to step down from the captaincy was because he feels the club is in a stable position with a lot of young players futures lying ahead. He think the club can win and he thinks the club can win now.
There is no question 36-year-old Oddy can contribute in a big way. Last year he put up 23 points in 26 games which was good enough for 10th on the local AIHL scoring leader list.
Entering the season he is just 8 points away from becoming the first AIHL player to hit 600 points.
Head coach Sami Mantere says a "hockey focused" Greg Oddy is a great thing for the team.
"We want Greg to focus more on playing hockey rather than dealing with some of the captains task. If we are going to be succesful on the ice this year we will need another big season from him," he says.
Plus, as Mantere puts it, the club would be "foolish" not to use Greg's experience to benefit a young team that will have numerous teenagers wear the double A.
"As far as we're concerned even though he is not wearing the C he is still one of the leaders," he says.
Oddy is as motivated as ever. He has rarely missed an off-season training. He is always helping the club on various levels and desperately wants to win a fourth national title.
"Winning another championship is what keeps me going. There is no better feeling than seeing hard work pay off by winning a championship with the boys," he says. "To experience that again would be unbelievable."
The next captain will be unveiled at the 2017 Jersey Presentation night at the Czech Club on Friday 21 April. Details will be announced on the team website and Facebook.
"It has been an absolute honour and privilege to wear the C and represent my team and city. I really enjoyed the constant challenges and responsibilities that come with it," he says.
The Adrenaline open their 2017 campaign at home vs. defending champion Newcastle North Stars on Saturday 22 April. Tickets are available at www.tickets.adelaideadrenaline.com.
Like many Adrenaline fans, Oddy says Saturday can't come soon enough.
"I can't wait to get this going," he says. "We've put in a lot of hard work and there is a lot more work to do. But I am confident we have the right pieces."