By Steve Carpenter Wednesday 06 February 2013 Updated: 07/02 10:23
BLAZE stars past and present gather to celebrate the career of Matt Soderstrom at a special testimonial match held at the Skydome tonight (Wednesday).
Former stars including Michael Tasker, Shaun Johnson, Hilton Ruggles, Steve Chartrand, Graham Schlender, Dan Carlson and Ron Shudra all represented Soderstrom’s team who took on the current Blaze line-up.
The 36-year-old Swede first arrived in 1999 when the team was based in Solihull.
He had a spell in Italy and with Telford Tigers in the English Premier League between 2004 and 2007 before returning to Blaze and winning two Elite League titles.
In total he made 591 appearances for Blaze and is now assistant to head coach Paul Thompson.
He said: "I must have done a good job for Thommo to sign me twice!
"From the first day I came to the club when we were in Solihull I fell in love. I loved playing for the Blaze and I loved playing for Thommo.
"I have played with some great guys and we always had good teams. It has been a nice love affair."
Thompson said he was very proud to have worked alongside Soderstrom for ten years.
He added: "I know we used the phrase ‘bleedblue’ but this guy does. The club is everything to him. You win championships with Matty Soderstroms.
"The guys I had when we were the top team knew their roles and understood their roles.
"They might not have been in the headlines every night but in the last minute of a game, with a face-off in our end, I went to Matty Soderstrom because he is blocking the puck with his teeth, that’s what he did for us for years and years.
"He has been with us pretty much his whole professional career. I know the fans appreciate him and what he has done."
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