PEORIA, Ill. (MWBD/WYZZ) — It’s the end of an era in Rivermen hockey.

Alec Hagaman, the first Peoria-born captain in team history, is now retired after the Rivermen were eliminated from the Southern Professional Hockey League playoffs on Sunday.

His nine-year run with his hometown team is over. So is his pro hockey career.

“It’s something special, something I’ll never forget,” said Hagaman after Sunday’s 5-3 loss to Roanoke in the deciding game of SPHL semifinals. “I’m, happy I got to bring them a championship last year. I hope they are proud of that. I’m thankful the fans came to all my games through the years.”

Hagaman, who led the Rivermen to their first league title in 22 years last spring, is proud to be from Peoria. Proud to be a product of Peoria youth hockey.

He grew up going to Rivermen games. Then he became a Rivermen star and he helped open the door for local players like Mitch McPherson and Austin Wisely, also with Peoria youth hockey roots, play at Carver Arena.

“Us three growing up, we probably didn’t think we had a chance to play for the Rivermen,” Hagaman said. “It’s a dream come true for all three of us.”

Hagaman went to Dunlap High School and then chased his hockey dreams. McPherson went to Richwoods High School and knew all about Hagaman.

“Hags means the world to Peoria hockey. I followed Hags my entire life also,” McPherson said. “Followed him in juniors, followed him in college, followed him here. He’s one of the best players I ever played for. He does a lot for Peoria youth hockey and gives back.”

Wisely, an IVC High School grad from Chillicothe, also followed Hagaman to the Rivermen.

“Hags is a huge part of my life. I’ve known him since I was ten,” said Wisely, who scored Peoria’s first goal on Sunday. “He’s an older brother figure to me. Pretty sad the way he had to go out. We got one championship for him.”

Hagaman has likely skated off the Carver Arena ice after as a pro for the final time. As he took his final lap with fans giving him a postgame ovation, he left his jersey at center ice as a symbol of thanks.

“I want to show my gratitude and thanks,” said Hagaman. “I’ll hold it close to my heart the rest of my life.”