MATT KEITH has paid tribute to Braehead Clan's big-game player Alex Leavitt who is set to retire at the end of the season.

The former Everett Silvertips star announced on Monday that he will hang up his skates in around a month's time to bring to an end a glittering career spanning 17 years.

Despite only being in the purple of Braehead for two seasons, Leavitt has become a fan favourite, mainly for his key contribution in front of goal.

In his 97 appearances the 33-year-old has returned 40 goals and a whopping 86 assists during his time on Clyde side.

Now with his retirement just a handful of games away, captain Keith admits he will be a huge miss to all around Braehead.

"What you see on the ice is exactly what you get," he told SportTimes. "He shows up every night and has a habit of finding a way to score in big games.

"Here at Braehead he will be missed but in hockey in general. Alex is a big talent and has done a lot for the teams he has played for down the years.

"He really enjoys it here in Scotland having spoken to him.

"Alex has a family and they will have had some in-depth conversations about what the next step is. He's not shared all of that with me but I know he loves the game, loves coming to the rink and loves playing for Braehead.

"I'm pretty sure this will have been a tough decision he has come to."

Keith and Co will be desperate to give Leavitt the best send off possible by winning Clan's first ever play-off championship trophy.

He has already bagged two Gardiner Conference titles with Braehead to add to gongs such as a Bundesliga 2 winner's medal and a CHL championship, to name but a few.

However, Keith knows Leavitt will be keen to go out with a bang.

"Of course that's the way everyone wants to go out by winning your last game.

"I think the focus for us as a team is to concentrate on the next six games and be ready for the two-game aggregate play off. Not just for Alex but for everyone."

Next up for Braehead is the game with Manchester Storm tonight at Braehead Arena. Clan have of course already secured their high seeding for the play-off quarter-finals - the second leg has already been confirmed for Sunday April 2 at home - but Keith wants to get the winning momentum back after a double defeat over the weekend.

He said: "We want to finish this season well and we have shown at times this year, especially recently, that we can compete with anyone.

"Our aim is to give ourselves a chance to prove that and finish the season properly."

In a statement regarding his retiral, Leavitt Tweeted on Monday: "Want to thank the Braehead Clan and all the fans for the last 2 years. It's been a lot of fun.

"Retirement will be bitter sweet I'm sure."

Braehead confirmed the news and added: "Alex Leavitt has confirmed today that he will retire at the end of the 2016/17 season."