Well it’s officially time for me to announce my retirement from professional hockey.
It was an unexpected ending but over the course of the summer it became clear that the time was right for me to move on and start the next chapter of my life. After spending some time reflecting I can honestly say I feel nothing but gratitude for what the game of hockey has given me and because of that I mostly just need to take the time to say a few thank you’s to the people that gave me the chance to pursue my dream.
Riley dropped a hint on his twitter account earlier this week
My parents of course get the first acknowledgement because they were the ones that made this entire life possible for me. It’s hard to believe they would both wake up for early morning practices and make the hour drive from our small town of Chase to get me to Kamloops in the middle of a freezing winter while I complained and slept. They always said I’d thank them for it one day and it turns out they were right as usual. But without saying it before today I’ve always been thankful for what they’ve done for me and I’m glad they got to experience some special moments along the way.
Riley celebrates a goal against Sheffield (credit Dave Williams)
Next up are all my teammates that I had the opportunity to compete with on all the teams I was fortunate to play on (and there was a lot of them as a minor league suitcase). I’ve met some of the best people and made some friendships that will last a lifetime through this game and it’s been a pleasure going through the good and bad times with them all.
Thank you to Steve Thornton in Belfast, he gave me an opportunity to continue my career in Europe and with that a chance to also continue my education in a Master’s program at Ulster University. This has made the transition to the “real world” a little bit easier. Playing three years in Belfast will always be fond memories as I was able to lift my first championship trophies as a hockey player and did it with a special group and coach in Adam Keefe.
Riley captained the Belfast Giants to back to back Challenge Cup titles in 2018 & 2019 (credit James Assinder)
Thank you to the entire Cardiff Devils organization for giving me the chance to play in beautiful Wales. I wish I could have played out the final year of my contract and delivered the league title but it was a special year with a special group. When the league returns I expect the Devils will be right back at the top competing for titles every spring like they have been for the past five seasons.
Another classic Riley fist pump goal celebration (credit Helen Brabon)
I wish I could thank everyone that has helped me along the way personally but without leaving anyone out I will finish with one final thank you to all the coaches, staff and fans that have been a part of this journey with me. I truly have been fortunate to play this long and I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world!