Will Weldon, captain of the Waldeck Peterborough Phantoms, has announced his retirement at the end of the 2023/24 season.

Weldon began his career in his hometown of Nottingham, progressing through the junior system, before taking his first steps into senior hockey with the Nottingham Lions.

In his early years as a senior in Nottingham, he also featured several times for the Nottingham Panthers in the Elite League, scoring once in the 2010/11 season.

He arrived in Peterborough ahead of the 2011/12 season, brought to the club by then player coach, Chris Allen. In his early days, he featured alongside some prominent names of Peterborough hockey, including Maris Ziedins and James Ferrara.

He scored five goals and added eight assists in 54 league games in his first season, becoming an instant hit with the fans for his style of hockey and dedication to the cause.

The former Great Britain U18 and U20 International has been a mainstay in the Phantoms team ever since and was awarded an ‘A’ for the first time in 2013/14 as he cemented his place amongst the leadership group within the team.

For the last three seasons, he’s led the Phantoms as our captain, following the retirement of James Ferrara. He’s worn his heart on his sleeve for 13 years in Phantoms colours and will go down as a legend for his dedication to our club.

Prior to the start of this season’s playoffs, Welds had played 575 games, scored 104 goals and collected 205 assists, leaving him with a total of 309 points. He’s also the Phantoms’ all time leader in penalty minutes with 902.

Achievements:

  • 2012-13 Player's Player
  • 2013-14 Player's Player (Joint with James Ferrara)
  • 2013-14 Best Clubman (Maggie McFarlane award)
  • 2015-16 Coach's Player
  • 2018-19 Player's Player
    ‚Äč
  • 2014-15 Play-Offs Champion
  • 2018-19 Autumn Cup Champion
  • 2018-19 National Cup Champion
  • 2018-19 South Play-Off Champion
  • 2022-23 National Cup Champion

Weldon said the following on his retirement: “It feels quite strange to be sat here writing this to confirm that this season will be my last and I will be retiring from Hockey.

Having arrived in Peterborough 13 years ago I could only have dreamt about the success we would have achieved together and to be sat here now having represented this great club over 500 times.

I don’t think there is necessarily ever an easy time to step away from a sport and a club that you have so much love for, but with commitments becoming greater and more demanding outside of hockey, it feels right for me and my family.

There are far too many people to thank individually but to all of my previous and current teammates and coaches thank you.

To all of the off ice staff and volunteers, without you there would be no club so thank you for all that you have done for me over the years.

To all of the owners past and present, thank you for putting your trust in me.

I’d also like to say a huge thank you to my parents, wife and friends. Thanks for supporting me over the years and thank you for understanding all of the missed birthdays/special occasions. None of this would have been possible without you.

Finally, thank you to the fans. It has been a pleasure to play in front of you week in and week out and your support has made our job on the ice that little bit easier and enjoyable.

I look forward to returning next season and sitting amongst you all and enjoying the game as a supporter of the club.

There will be plenty of time to sit back and reminisce on the past, but with one weekend of the group stages to go all of my focus and the teams is now on this upcoming weekend and doing everything we can do to qualify for Coventry.”

Phantoms Head Coach, Slava Koulikov, said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure and an honour to work with Welds from a young age and go through the majority of his career with him!

He is, and always has been, one of the best defensive centres in the league. He’s done magnificent work during his time with the club on the ice, as person, leader and captain.

Our second year together in 2015/16, he had an excellent season points wise and truly deserved coaches player at the end of that season. That’s when I really saw what Welds is all about.

He’s very smart on and off the puck, his hockey IQ is one of the best I have worked with during my career.

In the more recent years, he’s played a huge role that not every player would be happy to take on but the role he played was a big part of our success. Not just in winning trophies, but in the competitiveness and balance of the roster.

He is a player that everyone hates to play against but everyone wants on their team. He has made us a very competitive and very successful team.

I am very happy to have had him in my team for the past 10 years.

We should all give him great send off, and wish him all the best in the next stage of his life.

I want to thank him for every blocked shot, every big draw he won in important games and for being our captain. I’m sure we will see him watching some games in the future!

We will always hold him very close to our hearts for everything he has done on and off the ice.

He is a rare example of loyalty to our club and he will be missed, but more importantly, he will be remembered for everything he has done for the Peterborough Phantoms!”

Welds’ final Phantoms home game will be our playoff fixture against the Hull Seahawks on Sunday night (21st April), facing off at 5:30pm at Planet Ice Peterborough.

Welds has always played hockey full blooded and his awards and trophies speak for themselves, he’s played a huge role in the success of recent years and we’ll always be grateful to him for what he’s given to our club.

Thank you for everything, Will, and all the very best with your retirement. We look forward to seeing you around the rink as a fan from next season onwards!

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