Bemidji State senior defenseman Clay Simmons announced today that he is retiring from the Beaver hockey program immediately. Simmons stated that he had personal reasons for deciding to leave the program.
“I have some issues I have to deal with back home,” Simmons said. “Coach has left the door open for me to come back, and I wish my teammates the best of luck. I’m going to miss Bemidji State; it’s been a big part of my life. I love the coaches, the players and everything Beaver hockey stands for. Everything I’ve accomplished here has helped me improve and develop as a person.”
Bemidji coach Tom Serratore said that he understood Simmons’ reasons for leaving, but would leave the door open for him to return.
“Clay has some issues back home in British Columbia he has to deal with,” Serratore said. “He has been an outstanding player and leader in our program. People have to respect Clay’s privacy on why he’s leaving. The option for him to come back in the future will always be there. He’ll always be a part of this program.”
The departure of Simmons is the second blow to the Bemidji blueline in this offseason. Jamie Mattie was ruled ineligible by the NCAA because he had signed a contract to play major junior hockey. Bemidji appealed the ruling, but the appeal was denied.
“Any time you lose a veteran, it’s going to be a hit to your program,” said Serratore. “We’re certainly going to miss Clay. I understand his reasons for leaving, though, and we wish him the best.
“We don’t know who will step up yet, but we’ve got plenty of talent back there. We’ve got Bryce Methven, Anders Olsson, and John Haider from last year, and Peter Jonsson redshirted for us last year and should be really good for us. Sometimes, these things happen for a reason, and I think our guys will make it happen.”