RANDY'S LAST GOODBYE

Randy Smith bid farewell to the Pirates with a style of hockey that spoke volumes about the way he lives his life.

The joy of hockey and love of life which Smith shared with so many over the years was in full cry, as the lighter side of life again won the day. A 30-man hockey stick salute greeted Smith and his wife Barbara and two daughters Kendall and Cassidy on to the ice, with the joyous crowd standing as one and crying out his name for last time.

The first time he had heard the fans sing his name, back in 1994, Smith was taken aback, but over the years and even more so now, he has been taken aback by the warmth and affection which has been bestowed upon him by the Pirates.

Smith did not fail to entertain, with the cavalier in him to the forefront more than ever. Not one to miss an opportunity to extract some late revenge, Smith stripped off his Randini s Rebels jersey in the middle of the second period to reveal the striped jersey of a referee and immediately consigned the match officials to the penalty box for 10 minutes, but only after chasing after them with a bucket of water.

With 10 minutes to go Smith again changed shirts, this time to adorn the colours that have been closest to his heart during his six-year spell in Great Britain, the Pirates. And thanks partly to the aid of modern technology, and the self manicured stick of Smith, the Pirates All Stars were able to overcome a 14-2 deficit to win the match 16-15.

The night was much more than just big name stars as the juniors were also given their chance to shine on the night.

Robert and James Ferrara, Anthony Green, Steven Mail and Corey McEwen showing that there are plenty waiting to take over the Smith mantle.

The number 20 shirt that he has worn with distinction for the Pirates was officially retired at the end of the match, and Smith tearfully paid homage to the 700 fans who each paid 5 to get in as another chapter in the history of a club that refuses to die came to a close.