Mississippi RiverKings Coach Derek Landmesser got the surprise of his life Friday when he unveiled what he thought was the 'Kings new web site, when in fact it was screen shot of him on the ice during his playing days with the caption stating his legendary jersey No. 55 will be retired on Nov. 6.
"I'm stunned," Landmesser said, doing a double-take as he unveiled a large blanket covering a flat-screen TV in the home of Maddox Foundation President Robin Grindstaff Hurdle. "I really don't know what to say. The organization has been fantastic to me and my family. It's been an awesome 15 years."
RiverKings players and family members huddled around Landmesser as he received congratulatory hugs and backslaps.
The Thunder Bay, Ontario native was a 25 year-old in his fifth year of professional ice hockey when he signed on to play with the RiverKings.
Now 40, Landmesser oversees one of the more established teams in the Southern Professional Hockey League.
The RiverKings were affiliated with the Central Hockey league for 19 years.
Fifteen years ago, the RiverKings moved south to Mississippi from Memphis.
"He is someone who has been with the organization since 2000," David Schmoll, Director of Business Operations for the Mississippi RiverKings, said Friday. "Retiring his jersey is something we've talked about for the last several years. We thought now we have the new logo. It was time to do it. It was long overdue."
Landmesser will be honored with a ceremony on the ice at 7:05 p.m. Nov. 6, according to Schmoll.
"We hope that everyone will come out and cheer him and the Kings on," Schmoll said.
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at email@example.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.