MACON, Ga. – Minutes before the Macon Mayhem took the ice on Sunday, Macon head coach Nick Niedert was one of the few that knew what was to come.
Sure, each player in the locker room and fans filing into the Macon Coliseum knew that it’d be the final home game for Caleb Cameron before his retirement as a player. But nobody else in the locker room, other than veteran David Nippard knew what would come next after Cameron was introduced over the public address system.
“I was a mess before the game. I was trying to keep it in check. I knew what was happening, but Caleb didn’t. None of the guys knew. That was tough,” Niedert said. “When you know it’s the last home game or last big one, it’s tough, but he handled it better than I did.”
As Cameron skated onto the ice, a glance to his right to the Mayhem bench revealed that his family had been flown in for the game. But the surprise hardly ended there. Following brief remarks by team owner Dr. John Sapp, another surprise was yet to come.
That Cameron’s No. 10 was officially retired by the Mayhem, making him the first player in team history to receive the honor.
Video: Caleb Cameron takes the ice for the @MaconMayhem in his final home game as a player…and gets surprised with his jersey being retired pic.twitter.com/lz7OAehfFD
— Brad Harrison (@FPHMayhem) April 3, 2023
“I had no idea. It was not until I got to the end of the tunnel and saw my mom, dad, and sister on the bench and my wife and kids,” Cameron said. “That’s when it hit me. The jersey and number in the rafters, I had no idea. It was really special to have everyone here.”
For the first time in team history, the @MaconMayhem have retired a number. The No. 10 of @calebcameron10 is now displayed from the rafters of the @MaconCentreplex pic.twitter.com/OwuBKUCcK4
— Brad Harrison (@FPHMayhem) April 2, 2023
Besides a combined seven games via ECHL call-ups, Cameron’s entire career since 2017-18 has been spent with Macon. Now, the Sundridge, Ont. native will remain to call middle Georgia home. Dr. Sapp announced on Sunday that Cameron would join the team in an off-ice role next month.
“What’s made it really special has been the community and fans themselves,” Cameron said. “Now, being able to call it home and raise a family here, I’m a small-town kid from the middle of Canada, but Macon and now Dublin has become home, and I’m happy to say I’m raising my family here and being proud of it.”
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