Joe Johnston is not ready to retire just yet as he prepares to lead Streatham Redskins into the new National Ice Hockey League South One season.
The 35-year-old, who made his debut for the Redskins aged just 13, admits he has had to adapt his game as he has got older but will not stop playing until he is told to retire from the game he adores.
That opinion could change if Streatham-born Johnston was to win some silverware this season, but for now the captain just wants to keep on playing.
“I don’t feel that I’m nearing the end of my career just yet,” he said.
“I’ve had to adapt my game as I’ve got older but I’ve still got great vision.
“I’ll do whatever the team needs me to do.”
Redskins go into the new season with hopes of improving on last season, when they finished third but lost in the first-round of the play-offs.
Before their first home game against Bracknell Hornets on Sunday evening, they face London Raiders on Saturday at the Lee Valley Ice Centre.
They lost three of their four meetings against their London rivals last season, but will be looking to state their intent for the season from the off.
“The Raiders are a different team to last year. Like us, they’ve lost some players and have gained some too,” Johnston said.
“We’ve got a lot of added pressure this season, and we need to take care of our home form.
“But we’ve got a more balanced team than in previous years and that is the best way to win things.”
The signing of former Great Britain international Nick Chinn from Basingstoke Bison has created excitement in the Redskins dressing room and in the stands.
And, with several other additions to the roster ahead of the new season, fan favourite Johnston is optimistic about his team’s upcoming fixtures.
“Nick Chinn is one of the best ice hockey players in the country and brings a lot of experience to the team,” he said.
“He has incredible presence on the rink and will bring the very best out of this team.
“We’re in it to win it.”
Feature image of Joe Johnston, courtesy of Rick Webb, with thanks