Since news broke of Ollie Lomax’s decision to retire from Ice Hockey, tributes and testimonials have been flooding in. We would like to share these with you all.
I would like to wish Ollie all the best in his retirement it couldn’t have been an easy decision to retire as the Hawks has been your life for so many years. It was a pleasure coaching and knowing you Ollie all the best for the future with your family. Best wishes, Bobby Haig.
Mai and Douglas Adams – Parents of Jon Adams #10
Ollie came as a representative for the Hawks, during a very difficult time for us. He fit in right away and conducted himself with such grace and kindness. Realise that is who Ollie is, on and off the ice. Just because he has now retired from a very good hockey career doesn’t change that he is and will always be a true gentleman. He is thought of very highly by all who came into contact with him on this side of the pond. Enjoy raising your two girls.
Nick Riley – Blackburn Hawks Kit Manager
It’s been great working with you for the last 5 seasons, you put more into the club than you ever took out. It’s going to be different not having you around but the memories will last forever. See you around pal. KMG
Rick Bentham, former Blackburn Hawks #19
It’s an absolute honour to be asked to write a little something about Ollie as much as it upsets me that he has retired. I know, having been playing with Ollie since I was 6 years old that when the time is right, Ollie can go out with his head held high and will always be remembered as a Hawks legend in the eyes of those who matter.
It only feels like yesterday that we were lacing them up for the Merlins U10s and it feels crazy that this time has come. Ollie has the heart of a lion and always played for the name on the front of the shirt and never for the one on the back. He would defend any of his team mates even if this meant standing up against players twice his size… literally!
Ollie has been speaking to me for some time about the decision and it takes a man to play this sport, however it takes a real man to walk away from it when it is simply all they have ever known. Ollie has recently married his lovely wife Nicole and I know how much it meant to Ollie to be able to play in front of Layla and Freya and I’m sure they will keep him busy enough to keep his mind off hockey for a bit, even though deep down I know this is the hardest decision he will have ever made and won’t be easy. I’m sure there will be lots of people who will be happy to see the back of Ollie as he has taken a lot of stick over the years for the role he plays but I’m telling you now there is not a player who he has played with who would speak badly of him which shows what an amazing lad he is and of whom I am proud to call my best friend.
I could go on for hours telling stories about this lad but you wouldn’t believe half of the stories I could tell so I won’t bore you with that. I had to prepare a speech for his wedding as best man and that was a piece of cake compared to this.
So I guess it’s time for Ollie to say goodbye to the sport he loves but what a legend he is and he will always be remembered by any Hawks fan who has been there as long as Ollie has and I know there are plenty of these. He has had his critics for the role he played but show me a player who plays the role that he plays better than he does at this level and I’ll retire myself.
Enjoy retirement my brother, and enjoy Sunday, you deserve it!
17 seasons. That is one long time to be spent at a single club. Many players have been and gone, but there’s always been one person to share that dressing room with. I watched as a boy walked into the rink all those years ago, but now he’s leaving as a family man. I can’t go into all the many stories from your career that we’ve shared – there’s far too many! We’ve lost together, we’ve won together, but every single one of those games involved you putting your body on the line for this team, and your teammates. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for you. You supported me through the best of times, and through the worst of times, and I owe much more than words can explain. It’s been an absolute honour playing alongside you. Thank you. Enjoy retirement bro. x
Chris Riley, Blackburn Hawks Community Liaison Officer
‘I’d personally like to thank Ollie for the support he has given me on our community project over the past few years. Along with Aaron Davies he has constantly put his hand up to come to different groups as and when work and family commitments allowed.
The way he spoke and answered questions left you in no doubt as to his allegiances. He was extremely passionate about the Hawks and proud to represent Blackburn. A trait I would love to see continue in our juniors. All the best in your retirement Ol.
As his first coach in the under 10’s watching him grow up it was easy to see even from an early age that Oli had the ability and determination to go far in the game. He was always amenable and wanted to learn and try new things. His skating, balance and positional play were excellent. I just wish he would have been given the opportunity to play at a higher level as I think that would have been very achievable for Oli. I’m sure he will be sorely missed by the Blackburn faithful as he has been a great servant to the club. I personally wish him all the best for the future in what ever he does.
Ian Hough (now McDade)
I just read the news about Ollie calling it a day. It’s kind of sad because he still has more to give but totally understandable because family has to come first. I feel honoured to have coached and played with Oll. He had a pro attitude right from the first time I met you as a 9-year-old. He wasn’t the most gifted player on the 97 Under 10’s team but he more than made up for that with his attitude. He took all adversity and used it to show he deserved the right to be out their every shift. Not only that but he took it to a level and consistency that any player would be very proud of. I enjoyed playing with Ollie in 2007. He was the same guy as 10 years prior, cheeky, chippy, honest and proud.
The Blackburn Under 10’s class of 97 have a special place in my heart as many went on to represent the Hawks. Ollie is the shining light. I am sorry I can’t be there for your special evening but we caught up yesterday and I wish you all the best in the future.
Scott Ward, Billingham Stars – Friend and former Billingham Bombers team-mate
Oli has been a true warrior of a player doing anything he could to help his side win on any given night be it goals, fights or just solid defensive play. He was there for his team constantly putting his body on the line. He was a player I loved to play against because I know it would be a good old fashioned battle and as a player and a person I couldn’t speak more highly of him. The Hawks have been truly lucky to call him one of their own for nearly two decades.
Mark Halliwell, General Manager, Planet Ice Blackburn
It is with great sadness that I heard the news that Ollie had decided to retire from the Hawks. He has been around the rink for a very long time and will be missed. I would like to personally thank him for the dedication and hard work he has put into the team, through all the good times, and the not so good times. His dedication not only to the team, but also to its fans is admirable and hopefully we will see him and his family down at the rink. Don’t become a stranger, all the best, and enjoy your well earned rest!.
Esther Gradwell, Blackburn Hawks PR & Media Officer
Well… When our family first started watching the Hawks it was literally a matter of months before we started to volunteer for the club, and it’s all down to the drive, and passion of players such as Ollie. He epitomises the whole ethos of Blackburn Hawks though solid graft, commitment and approachability, and I can hand on heart say that if our son grows up to be half the man Ollie is we will be as proud as I can imagine that Graham and Tracey are today. He is one of life’s true gentlemen with time for anyone and a great role model for the young fans to aspire to be. Enjoy your retirement with your beautiful family Ollie, you deserve it and thank you for helping make my time around the club the blast that it has been so far.
Carl Everitt, Lead Organiser, Rob Craig Memorial Match
Well what can I say about Ollie… I’ve gone from sitting in the crowd as a fan and criticising Ollie (and a couple of the other Hawks players if the truth be know) about making a wrong pass etc to deciding to learn to play hockey and with that I found a new respect for what the lads do on the ice. I’ve always found Ollie to be one of those marmite players that you either love what he does on the ice or you don’t… it’s that simple. What very few can’t deny is his commitment and passion for his hometown club – The Blackburn Hawks. I’ve been very lucky to have spent some time with Ollie off the ice and you’d struggle to meet a nicer, more down to earth lad (very different to his on-ice character haha). What’s more, I have found Ollie to have a huge heart and in my humble opinion, Ollie has sacrificed a lot for this club and our community. We have also been honoured with his support and participation in our Annual Rob Craig Memorial Event where he has contributed to the Radio interviews along with being Guest Player in this year’s event and paying personal respect to former Blackburn Hawk Jon Adams (RIP) – nothing was too much trouble for him and I can’t thank him enough for his support.
When I found out that Ollie had retired, I messaged him saying that I wished him the best with his future endeavours and if the truth be known I was a little gutted that I wouldn’t get to see him ice for my beloved Blackburn Hawks again because without doubt, what Ollie has done and achieved can only be respected.
Ollie, I wish you and your family the very best for the future #Respect21 #HawksLegend
Mark Kinder, Blackburn Hawks Manager
Ollie Lomax 21# – A young hockey player that has always worn his heart on his sleeve spending most of his senior hockey career playing for the Hawks and seeing the team through the good times and bad winning 3 playoff and 2 league championships.
One thing you can say about Ollie is that it’s always team first and the way he would take new players joining the team to see football games and to his second love rugby.
Ollie has spent many hours out in the community representing the Hawks at schools, youth clubs and visiting the children’s wards at Xmas.
It takes a special person to come to the fore and represent the team when we lost one of our own and travel across the pond. Ollie was that person.
Now that you have decided to retire from the sport, it’s going to be a great loss not only to the Hawks but to the sport of ice hockey and all the teams that you have played against Ollie.
Thank you for your efforts over the years and hope to see you at games in the future.
John Neville, Planet Ice
Back in the 90’s this young upstart and his father turned up at the arena and started learn to play those 2 people were Ollie and his old man Graham. From that day when I worked initially for the Hawks and now as I operate the team on behalf of Planet Ice the work ethos and pride to play for the shirt can be seen in young Ollie.
You’ve been a role model in the community both on and off the ice, always helping where you can and for that I and the club will always grateful.
It was undoubtedly a shock when Coach Neil called earlier in the week and I hope with the short space of time since then to arrange what we have, that on Sunday evening we can do you proud, young sir. You’ve been Blackburn through and through and now’s the time for the fans of this great club to show some appreciation and thank you for your great service to the Hawks.
Ollie good luck for the future to you, Nicole and your beautiful children, enjoy your family time but above all don’t be stranger you will always be welcome at the arena.
We hope you will all join us at Planet Ice Blackburn this Sunday where there will be a presentation to Ollie before our NIHL North Cup Match versus Widnes Wild, to thank him for his commitment and dedication to the club over the last 17 years and to Blackburn ice hockey in general over the last 20 in total.
Doors open: 4:45PM
Face off: 5:30PM
We would ask that fans can be seated as soon as possible before the match for the presentation to take place.
We would like to thank all who have given their time to contribute to this article, and thank you also to photographers Steve Pollitt, Thomas Foy, Tony ‘Kipax’ Greenwood and John Milton.