The Peterborough DALROD Phantoms can confirm that captain and legend, James Ferrara, will be calling time on his playing career at the end of the 2019/20 season. The 31-year-old forward has decided that this season will be his last in professional hockey.

“If I’m honest I made the decision quite a while ago. I spoke to Slava a lot towards the end of last season and especially when we finished the season. There was a stage I remember sitting down with him and saying I was 90% sure I was stopping after last season. But obviously we spoke a lot and it’s not about him convincing me or anything like that. I explained to him that I had a lot of factors to consider before committing to this season because I didn’t want to commit and only be 50%, I wanted it to be for the right reasons, what was best for my family and the circumstances we’re in. I made the decision quite a while ago, so I’ve come to terms with it and I’m happy with it. So, I’m looking forward to this season and building on the success of last year. I’m ready to give that a go for one final time. But many things factored into the decision, mainly family and my kids and everything relating to that. My situation at work at has changed, having a promotion and having to put more time into that, so our expanding family means that I just can’t be able to commit 100% in the long term. I’m happy with what I’ve achieved and happy that my commitment now is to my family and seeing them growing up and succeeding.” Ferrara said. 

“I know a lot of people who have retired, not just in ice hockey but in other sports, who have made that commitment at the end of a successful season because they want to end on that high. It was part of the thinking last season, but it was never ‘if I win this I’m going to retire’ because I want that to be it. I want it to be the right time for me and my family, putting everything into perspective. I did a lot of thinking last season and there were times when I thought If I did retire last season, how amazing would that be? Having been so successful. I think after the first cup success I thought it was probably going to be my last season and to then go on and win the other trophies was incredible. There was a lot of thinking involved and if I finished on a high then excellent but that wasn’t the reason why any of this came about. Obviously, I hope we have a successful season and I do end on a high, but at the end of it I’ll have no regrets, it wasn’t based on success or not and there were a lot of factors involved. My family and work, I can keep giving away a lot of my time when there’s other people who rely on my support. I don’t want my hockey commitments to hinder anyone else’s success. It’s their time.” Said Ferrara. 

Ferrara made his debut for the Peterborough Pythons U16 side back in the 2000/01 season, before appearing for the Phantoms for the first time in 2003/04. In 2005/06 he made his Elite League debut with the Nottingham Panthers and signed full time for Panthers in 2006. He remained in Nottingham until 2009 and racked up 165 Elite League appearances in the process. 

‘Jimmy’ has also represented Great Britain at Under 18 and Under 20 levels. He featured nine times for the Under 18’s between 2004-2006, picking up 4 goals and 10 assists as part of a gold medal winning squad. His ten Under 20 appearances came in the following two years. 

He returned to Peterborough in the 2009/10 season and has been a pivotal part of the Phantoms team ever since. This coming season will be his seventh year proudly representing the Phantoms as our captain.

Jimmy has also had the opportunity to ice alongside his brothers, Luke and Robbie, during his career.

“James and Robert are both a huge part of the reason I play this game. James started first obviously and Robert followed, and I wanted to do nothing but follow my brothers and that’s all I’ve ever known. They’re both my idols! James is a born leader and leads by example and his record speaks for itself. He’s obviously a great brother and is a great father too. He’s a great player and a better person!” Said Luke Ferrara. 

“James has always been a person who knows what he wants to achieve, how he will achieve it and then put all his effort into making it happen. This has enabled him to find success in all areas of his personal, sporting and professional life. Evidenced by the family support that is around him, both immediate and extended; being the captain of this club, experiencing many team and personal triumphs; and his progression within the education system. Every step has been achieved at a relatively young age which is a credit to him. James’ ability to remain focussed and complete his role, enabling the team to triumph, has earned him a reputation around the league, a reputation which I feel has been extended to me also.” Robbie Ferrara said.

“As brothers James, Luke and I have shared many common goals, but our paths have each taken different routes. It is reassuring to know that wherever our paths take us we are still there for each other and offer support and advice where we can. James has used his experiences to support me when I’ve needed of which I am very grateful.” said Robbie Ferrara. 

The ‘legend’ tag is one which is banded around a lot in sport, but James Ferrara is certainly a player who warrants that title. He has iced in over 880 career matches to date, with over 580 of those coming in a Phantoms jersey. Ferrara has collected an impressive return of over 730 points in his career so far, despite being more well known for his hard-work and commitment on and off the ice.

The Phantoms are delighted to confirm that James’ #17 jersey will be retired at the end of the season, as part of our tribute to our captain, and our celebrations of his fantastic playing career. 

“I’m really happy, but I don’t think until it comes to the time, emotionally how I feel about that. I know from speaking to close family it means a lot to them, knowing the sacrifices people have had to make week in week out for me to be able to be in this position to play hockey for so long and at a high level and enjoy success, that it’s not just about me, its maybe about what the club represents and what my family have committed to that. I think it’s just as much a reward for everyone else, being able to see my number and name up there.” Jimmy said. 

Phantoms Head Coach Slava Koulikov is pleased Ferrara agreed to play for one more year after the Phantoms captain considered ending his career at the end of last season. He also believes James fully deserves his jersey retirement for his years of commitment and dedication to the Phantoms. 

“As a coach you plan your team ahead and you can start planning a year ahead. There is a lot of planning going on, speaking to players, seeing where they’re at and what the future holds. You do that throughout the season to build for the year after, and Jimmy is one of the players who I spoke to around Christmas and the question came up of him retiring at the end of the treble season. We had numerous conversations and discussed everything. He has a life outside of hockey and knows where he’s aiming to be in a year or so. He’s a huge part of our team so I told him my plans for the following season and about three, four or five conversations later, we came up with a solution that would allow him to play for one more year. I was very pleased that we could keep him for one more season even if it’s the last season and that’s how we went forward.” Koulikov said. 

“I don’t know a player in the room in the five and a half years I’ve worked here that doesn’t like Jimmy and I think fans like him, too. Everything he brought into this club. Everything he’s done, he deserves to have his jersey retired. It’ll be a proud moment for Jimmy, his family, and it’s another piece of history for him on top of winning trophies. He fully deserves this and for me to go forward looking up at his jersey, it’ll make me proud to know I worked with someone like this.” He continued.

James had the following message for the fans ahead of the upcoming season: 

“The biggest thing I can say is thank you. Thank you for the support, thank you for everything anybody does for the club. That’s everyone who’s worked for the team, volunteers, anyone who’s come to watch the hockey and supported us, not just this season, not just last season but all through the years. Anyone who’s given anything positive towards the team or the club, we truly value and I truly value. A massive thank you to everyone who’s ever sponsored me and supported me, I’m not the most outspoken person sometimes and the loudest around the rink but I truly value the support and people being around, it makes that family atmosphere and it makes it comforting to everyone involved as well as me, so just a massive thank you to everyone who’s ever done anything for me. People might be disappointed but please don’t be, please be happy and proud. And what’s bigger and more important than me in my situation and my moment is to continue to support the team to drive for their ambitions to move the club forward. That’s what I want to see for this great team and great club with great people. Don’t be disappointed, continue to cheer and shout and put everything into the team because it’ll be here long after I’ve gone, and I’ll always be around. I’ll come and watch, and my kids are involved now, they love coming down, so I’ll still be here. I’m making the decision now and broadcasting it now so we can move forward as a team because it’s not about an individual, it’s about the team being successful.” 

Luke Ferrara: “Good luck for the rest of your career after hockey. You’re a huge part of the reason I’m playing now and couldn’t have done it without you. Winning the playoffs together is still the proudest and best moment of my career!”

Robbie Ferrara: “Congratulations on a successful career, your commitment and achievements have been inspiring and we are all proud. I know you will continue to find success away from the rink.”

David Clarke: “Enjoy your last year, 8 months to wind down. Enjoy every minute of it, every time you go to the good rinks embrace it, every time you go to a bad rink just be thankful you don’t have to go back. Make the most of it because you’re a long time retired. Enjoy every minute of it!” 

Slava Koulikov: “When one door shuts, another opens. Life is full of opportunities. This is the door that Jimmy’s going to close, and I would say a successful time of his life and the next one will open. He’s got a promotion at work, so I wish him all the best there. I have no doubt he’s going to be good at the role he’s getting at his school. I want to wish his family all the best. The most important thing is we hope for him and his family to be happy and healthy.”

The Peterborough Phantoms would like to thank James for his years of commitment, hard-work and dedication to ice hockey in Peterborough. Thank you for the memories, trophies and for being such a huge part of our team for so many years. You will always be a Phantoms legend. 

Whilst James and the team go in search of success once again this year, we’d also like to use this season to celebrate Jimmy and his career and would like to invite the fans to join us in doing so. 

Congratulations on a fantastic career, Jimmy!