SCOTT Spearing will make his final appearance for Bracknell Bees this coming weekend, writes Dave Wright.

And head coach Doug Sheppard hopes his teammates will do everything possible to make it a winning one when they compete in the National Ice Hockey League's Final Four event in Coventry.

Spearing is calling it a day after making more than 500 appearances for the club, but says he will still be around to watch his two young sons play hockey, and would not rule out a coaching role in the future.

Explaining the reasons for his retirement, the 32-year-old said: "With a family and full-time job as well as the hockey, I just feel it is the right time to stop.

"I want to spend more time with my wife Kelly and our three children, we have recently had a daughter.

"My job is in London which makes it a long day, and I have been missing seeing my two sons grow up."

He continued: "I have played hockey since I was a little kid and professionally since I was 18. It takes up every weekend for much of the year.

"I have been doing the job for about the same amount of time as I have been playing. There is also training on a Tuesday or Thursday which goes on late. It got to the stage when I felt I was ready to stop rather than try to hold on.

"You also have to think about your own body. When you play a physical role in the team you are making twice as many hits as any other player, so your body is going to get worn out twice as fast."

But the 6ft 3in forward insists he won't be running off into the sunset.

"Both my boys (Finlay, 9, and Jenson, 6) are playing hockey and I am going to see if I can get more involved with the junior coaching. I want to give something back to the sport which has been so good to me. I even met Kelly through hockey.

"I have told the club I won't be closing the door on them. Maybe after a break of a year or two, if a role comes up in the Bees organisation then I feel I would like to be part of it.

"Bracknell is a brilliant club and I hope it continues to become even more successful."

Reflecting on last year, Spearing said: "I had the job (coaching) and stepped down to let Doug in as I felt it was the best thing for the club.

"Doug has a lot more time to commit to the club as he doing it as a full-time job.

"It was the right decision as he has a lot of experience of all the off-ice jobs. He can set things up for the future, whether he stays for three years or 10.

"That is not taking anything away from the other directors who were responsible for putting down the foundations for me when I was the coach and now Doug. They are all helping the club to run smoothly.

"I must also thank our supporters, who have always been brilliant."

And the fans will be out in force this Saturday when Bees take on North One champions Hull Pirates.

"They are going to be tough to beat, but the best team we have played this season are Swindon and we won on their ice, so there is no reason why we can't beat teams at Coventry. Our fans will be noisy and right behind us," concluded Spearing.

Coach Sheppard added: "It would be nice if we can send Scott off as a winner this weekend.

"He's had a great career and has done so much for the Bees.

"Before I came to Bracknell, he was a player I tried to recruit many times, but he stayed loyal to Bracknell.

"He helped to give me the opportunity to come to Bracknell, so I really appreciate everything he has done for me.

"He has put in a lot of time and effort this year.

"His heart is certainly in Bracknell and I'm sure he will still be around the club quite a bit. He and his family will always be welcome here."