Ice Hockey: Injury stops Brebant from appearing in dream finale

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The Independent Online

After 17 seasons in his adopted country, winning many trophies, it was hardly the way the Canadian Rick Brebant wanted to bow out of the British game.

The 40-year-old Manchester Phoenix player-coach went into their Elite League play-off semi-final with Nottingham Panthers on Saturday carrying a thigh injury that prevented him from training in the week leading up to the contest at the National Ice Centre. Phoenix were also without the Dutch international Mark Bultje and the Canadian Carl Greenhous in what was the biggest game of the club's first year under new ownership.

Despite their captain, George Awada, scoring after 61 seconds, Phoenix were in the end comfortably beaten 6-1.

"Lots of fun, very enjoyable and a lot of great memories," was how Brebant described his time in the United Kingdom. "Every memory is a positive thing. Winning the first Grand Slam with Durham is right up there, but it is really hard to say one championship is better than the other one. But the Sheffield Steelers team which won the Grand Slam [in 2001] was outstanding."

Brebant hopes to be involved with junior development and Olympic sports in the United States, but said: "If that does not happen, you never know, I could become a garbage man."