Ben Oskroba Announces Retirement
PEORIA - On Wednesday afternoon, longtime Rivermen defenseman Ben Oskroba announced his retirement from the game of hockey. The blue liner played in all seven seasons of the SPHL-era Rivermen to date, and currently sits fourth among games played by a defenseman in the team's 38 year franchise history.
Oskroba's final game came with the Rivermen in a shootout win on Sunday, March 8th against Roanoke inside Carver Arena. From there, the regular season was cancelled due to COVID-19, which has also forced the Rivermen to opt out of the 2020-21 SPHL season.
"I would never have imagined my last game would be played on a Sunday in March and I wish I could've soaked in that last game," said Oskroba on a social media post announcing his retirement. "I won't remember how I played or what the score of that last game was, but I will never forget my fans, my family, the road trips, the locker room, the teammates that became my family, and the memories made along the way."
Oskroba, 30, wore a letter for the Rivermen since the 2015-16 season. Including playoffs, Ben skated in 329 games with Peoria, including three trips to the SPHL President's Cup Finals. He tallied 32 goals and 98 points over the course of his tenure with the Rivermen.
"Ben was a pillar of leadership on and off the ice for our organization for so many years while wearing the Rivermen wheel on his chest," said Rivermen COO/Owner Bart Rogers. "His commitment to our hockey team, fans, and the Peoria community will be missed. While we are saddened to learn of Ben's retirement, we wish him the best in his future endeavors and we can guarantee he will be back in Carver Arena during the 2021-22 season so we can honor him for that leadership and commitment to our organization and our great fans can show him their appreciation first hand."
Oskroba spent two seasons in the college ranks skating for NCAA-Division I Northeastern before playing a year with the University of Connecticut. All but 10 of his professional games were spent being coached under Jean-Guy Trudel with the Rivermen.
"I can't believe I won't get to see my 6'5" sunshine as a player again," said Trudel on Oskroba's announcement. "You were the light of our team for so many years. You were one of the most loyal players I ever had. Your toughness was second to none. You are the best teammate we have had. You gave seven years of your life to our organization and community and believed in the Rivermen way."
"For that, I will be forever grateful Ben," said Trudel. "You're a Rivermen Hall of Famer in my book."
Ben will continue to live life alongside his wife, Kate.
"Peoria: you will always have a place in my heart. Thank you for everything. You are truly a championship town. Love you all."
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Southern Professional Hockey League Stories from October 7, 2020
- Ben Oskroba Announces Retirement - Peoria Rivermen
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