Drew Paris, the D-man from Montreal, has earned his place in Cardiff Devils history.
The moment Paris smashed home the winning shot during overtime against HC Davos, one of the top clubs in Europe, will live in the memory of Devils fans forever.
Cardiff’s first ever Champions Hockey League victory ranks alongside many magnificent moments over the last 30 years.
After all, this was surely Devils best ever win when the status and playing level of Davos are taken into consideration. The European elite team have been Swiss champions 31 times.
They have celebrated the same number of titles as there have been years since Devils were formed in 1986.
Devils had won three league titles before I moved to South Wales and started reporting on the team late in 1994, but I’ve witnessed so many emotional celebrations.
John Lawless, Shannon Hope and more have told me about the first Premier Division title in 1990 and Devils play-offs triumph against Murrayfield Racers.
Doug McEwen scored from the 23rd shot of the shootout, goalie Jeff Smith saved Tony Hand’s effort and Devils won the greatest British play-off final of all time live on BBC Grandstand.
My own top Devils memories include:
Steve Thornton’s hat-trick at Sheffield Steelers, marking his arrival in 1996 and leaving home goalie Piero Greco helpless was remarkable.
The Devils black line of Thornton, Ivan Matulik and Ken Hodge, the former Boston Bruins forward, led their team to the Superleague title in 1997.
Two years later Devils enforcer Mike Ware dropped the gloves when challenged by newly-arrived Sheffield Steelers tough guy Dennis Vial. Ware’s first punch rocked the Steelers’ man, his second and third put his fellow North American down.
In 1999 Devils won the play-offs title, beating Nottingham Panthers 2-1 in the final. The previous day I had been reporting on Cardiff City’s goalless draw at Cambridge United when then Devils owner David Temme rang with big news: “We’re 4-0 up and Nicky Chinn has scored a hat-trick.”
Devils were playing League champions Manchester Storm, hot favourites to win the play-offs, and I, thinking it was a wind-up, refused to believe David until he passed the phone around.
Immediately after the Football League match in Cambridge I headed to Manchester and was there to witness Cardiff Devils lift the trophy by beating Panthers. Head coach Paul Heavey had the contents of a massive ice bucket tipped over his head.
Rejean Stringer’s Challenge Cup penalty shootout winner in 2006, netting to complete a magnificent Devils comeback from 3-0 down against Coventry Blaze.
Cardiff lost the first leg of the final 3-0 and Blaze fans arrived with homemade trophies, made of cardboard covered with aluminium foul, to taunt home fans.
Nathan Rempel scored a hat-trick as Devils won the return leg 4-1 and Stringer added the finishing touch.
Over the last three seasons coach Andrew Lord’s Devils have won five trophies, being crowned Elite League champions plus winning two Challenge Cups and two Erhardt Conference titles.
The win against HC Davos is right up there with the best Devils results over the last 30-plus years since the club was formed.
It could even be number one. What are your thoughts?
What are your best memories of Devils triumphs?