Transfers 22.07.2014

"I ended my road as a player in the best possible place - with you in Zagreb"

Alan Letang ended one journey with the Bears, but continues another one...

Over the past five seasons, many names have changed above the numbers on Medvescak jerseys, each new season some new numbers skated out on the ice, while some had new owners. But since Medvescak's first EBEL season all the way until the first season in the KHL, there is one number in the Den that never changed its owner. The captain's jersey with the number 28 belonged to one player for all five seasons: Alan Letang.
For five seasons in a row, Alan Letang poured his heart out on the ice, fought through injuries, and brought Medvescak to the playoffs each season. Amongst the fans, who felt a lot more than regular respect toward him, he always had a special status. Unfortunately for all of Medvescak's fans and hockey lovers, we will no longer see the number 28 captain jersey on Letang's back in Dom Sportova in the coming season. At age 39, Alan Letang has decided to end his professional playing career. 
However, every end is a new beginning. The Bears' five-year captain will continue his hockey career on Medvescak's bench as assistant coach alongside head coach Chuck Weber. We have no doubt that he will assume his position and duties on the coaching bench as responsibly and effectively as we have gotten used to seeing him on the ice.
We would not have know how much this moment meant to him, and how grateful he is that this turn in his professional career is happening within Medvescak, had Alan Letang not decided to write a letter directly thanking the fans for the friendship that they have developed and will keep developing...
Dear fans,
The day has come, and the moment that no athlete can escape; the moment in which it isn't easy for anyone to admit that it's over. Yes, the time has come when my career as a professional player stops, and when I finish this primary and highly active phase of my athletic career. This moment that I've long thought about comes with sadness, but leaves me full of heart, because I know that I ended my road as a player in the best possible place - with you in Zagreb!
When I arrived in Croatia in 2009 I couldn't have dreamed that Zagreb and Croatia would become me and my family's home away from home, or Medvescak as my second, sports family. I'm sad that my career as a player has come to an end, but at the same time I am happy to have had the opportunity to play with some of the best teammates in my career, and also to have played in front of the world's greatest fans.
Thank you for every moment spent together throughout these five unforgettable years. Thank you for all of the applause, for every burst of excitement when the number 28 skated out inside Dom Sportova, I'm proud that you called it captain. Thank you for your support in hard times and good times, through wins, losses, and injuries, thank you for the 'Captain Superhero' banner, for every song, congratulation, comment, greeting, and emotion you sent my way. 
However, I'm not leaving Zagreb and Croatia! Our journey here together isn't even close to being over, and I'm certain that we have countless victories ahead of us. I've decided to accept my club's offer to be an assistant coach of Medvescak's primary team next season. This is the start of something new for me, an exciting chapter in which I wish to continue to the further development of the club. I don't want to miss a single stop along this journey, and still want to go on this journey together with you. So, dear fans, I invite you all to be, as you have been so far, our most valuable companions, because as Damir Gojanovic once said 'little people exist to do big things together'. Let's go together, until the end, because remember that '#togetherweare'.
ZIG-ZAG, your Alan Letang.
Alan Letang has spent five seasons with Medvescak, four in EBEL and one in the KHL. In 2013-14 he played 19 games in the KHL and earned 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists), and earned 96 points in the 216 games played in EBEL. He was given the role of team captain from his first season, a proudly carried the letter 'C' on his chest for five seasons.
This year, 2014, he played for the Croatian national hockey team, and in 2013 he served as their general manager. Now in 2014-15 he will be directing the puck from a new role, as the assistant coach. 
Prior to joining Medvescak, Letang played for the AHL's Fredericton Canadiens, Saint John Flames, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the former IHL's Michigan K-Wings and Utah Grizzlies (now ECHL member), Kaufbeuren, Augsburger Panther, Hamburg Freezers, and Nurnberg Ice Tigers (DEL), Zug (NLA), and Langnau (NLB), along with Austria's Innsbruck. In 1993 he was the Montreal Canadiens' 203 pick at the NHL Draft, and throughout his professional career he played 14 games in the NHL with the Dallas Stars, Calgary Flames, and the New York Islanders. Alan Letang has been UNICEF's athletic spokesperson since 2010.