Jeff Hassler has vowed to do “everything I can to help the Ospreys get through to the Champions Cup” after his departure from the Region was confirmed on Monday night.
The popular Canadian, who picked up the ‘Social Media Player of the Year’ award at the end of season dinner, will leave the Ospreys next month after he activated a clause to terminate the final year of his contract.
However, he has vowed to do his bit in the forthcoming Champions Cup play-off game to decide the final Guinness PRO14 qualifier for the elite European competition. He said:
“I’ve never been a guy to quit, to give up whatever position I’m in, so if I’m involved in that game I’ll be doing everything I can to help the Ospreys get through to the Champions Cup next year. It’s important to go out on a high note.”
If selected, the one-off tie will be Hassler’s 74th, and final, appearance for the Region since his debut against Leinster, in September 2013, after making the switch from Canada 7s that summer, along with compatriot Tyler Ardron. With 24 tries to his credit, Hassler is very much a fan’s favourite, and he admits that saying goodbye won’t be easy.
“It’s going to be pretty emotional” Hassler continued.
“Ospreys were the first professional club to give me a shot and I’ve spent the last five years here. We’ve been to semi-finals, we’ve had some ups and downs, plenty of great memories and I’ve made lots of great friends so moving on isn’t going to be the easiest of things.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here, life as an Osprey, and everything I’ve achieved, hopefully people have enjoyed me being here. Who knows what the next challenge will be for me, what direction I go? But sometimes it’s good to be a free spirit, we’ll see where that takes me.”
Dan Griffiths, Rugby General Manager at the Ospreys, paid tribute to Hassler ahead of his departure, saying:
“Jeff has been a popular figure around the environment over the last five years and has had many memorable moments in an Ospreys shirt with his committed, physical approach. Having notified us of his intention to move on to a fresh challenge at the end of this season, he leaves with our best wishes for the future.”