Dave Upton: A Farewell Tribute to No. 96

Sam HansenContributor ISeptember 8, 2009

As fans of the Gold Coast Blue Tongues and AIHL we are used to seeing import players come and go each season.  It’s not so often, however, that we find ourselves saying farewell to long-term local players, a position Blue Tongues fans find themselves in now with the departure of No. 96, Dave Upton, who is pursuing a Rugby Union career.

Dave Upton is one of those guys who can only be described as a freak.  Naturally talented at most sports, Dave smashed his way into the AIHL with the Brisbane Blue Tongues at the age of 15, the youngest player ever to play in the league to date.  Since then fans have watched Dave grow, not just as an extremely talented hockey player, but as a person.

There are many highlight reel moments over the years including amazing goals, blazing speed, and some of the best checking and hitting the Blue Tongues have seen.  Fans may remember the massive open ice hit Dave put on a Central Coast Rhino a few years ago in Brisbane, or the countless times Dave’s passion and determination shone through as he worked hard to carry the team back into games.

It is fitting and pleasing then to know that Dave’s last game as a Blue Tongue was also a historical one; the Blue Tongues first ever AIHL finals game, a game that was the culmination of five years hard work, determination, and pure grit by players such as Dave Upton.

Dave’s departure from the Blue Tongues leaves more than just an empty roster spot, it leaves a “Davie shaped hole” in the very heart of the team, as one fan was recently quoted as saying.  A lineup without Dave Upton will not feel like a proper Blue Tongues lineup.

We would like to thank Dave for the time and effort he has put into this team over the last five years, and want to express how deeply we appreciate the memories he have given us.  Wherever the future takes Dave, we know he will excel and do well.

So to No. 96, Dave Upton: farewell and thank you for the memories.