Nelson retires nothing short of Eagles great
The Colorado Eagles will have a major void to fill this season with the retirement of longtime captain Riley Nelson.
Nelson, who played 11 seasons with the ECHL club, finished his playing career as the team’s all-time leader in practically every offensive category, including goals (303), assists (489) and points (792). He’s also the Eagles’ all-time playoff leader in points (128) and assists (80) and tied for first with 48 postseason goals.
As a professional, Nelson tallied 973 points (391 goals) in 875 career games in the ECHL, Central Hockey League (CHL), American Hockey League and United Hockey League.
“The decision to retire was a culmination of many things, but ultimately it came down to it being time for another challenge,” said the 36-year-old Nelson. “I’ll probably miss the locker room and being around the team more than playing the game itself; it’s the little things that make the game so enjoyable.”
The Eagles will retire Nelson’s No. 12 jersey during a ceremony at Budweiser Events Center when Colorado plays host to the Stockton Thunder on Dec. 12.
Nelson, who scored the first goal in Eagles’ history back in 2003, was part of two CHL championships (2005, 2007) and was named the CHL’s MVP in 2011.
“For sure, the two championships are the most memorable moments and I’ll always hold those teams close to my heart,” Nelson said. “I guess the hard part about retiring, for me, is facing the realization that you can’t compete at the level you expect from yourself.”
Now working in oil and gas in the automation field, Nelson and his family continue to reside in Northern Colorado.
“Extra time with the family will be nice,” said Nelson.
– Matt Mackinder