“I have chosen to end my playing career,” Henrik Lundqvist said at a press conference in Sweden. “I am extremely grateful for all the memories,” as the 39 year-old New York Rangers icon officially closed the books.
The hockey world was hoping that Lundqvist could have one last hurrah before retiring after open heart surgery in January. They almost got it, as Lundqvist revealed that he was just 3 days away from joining the Capitals last season until an infection inflamed his heart.
He tried again this summer, but started to feel the same discomforts. That was enough for him to realize it was time to let it go.
Igor Shesterkin thanks the King
The New York Rangers will retire Lundqvist’s #30 this season at an undetermined game. As news spread of his decision Blueshirts started sending in their well wishes and gratitude to the man who carried a franchise for 15 seasons.
“Congratulations Henrik on an unbelievable career! You have always been my inspiration. Not only are you a legendary goaltender but an incredible teammate and person as well,” Igor Shesterkin wrote to Henrik via Instagram. “To spend time and learn from you is something I will never forget. It’s an honor to be your teammate and to have the opportunity to follow in your footsteps. You’re one of the greatest to ever play the game and I am sure success will follow you in the next chapter. Thank you KING!”
Of course, he wasn’t the only one. Jacob Trouba sent out congratulations via Twitter. As did Filip Chytil and other teammates. Former Rangers like Pavel Buchnevich, Mats Zuccarello, and Kevin Hayes also wanted to wish Lundqvist well, going as far as to call him a legend.
Accolades will continue to come in from across the NHL as players acknowledge his incredible accomplishments to the game.
Lundqvist was more than just a goalie
Henrik may have stopped playing, but his charitable work with the Garden of Dreams and Henrik Lundqvist Foundation will continue. His pro career speaks for itself, but one has to recognize just how much good he did for this city.
He was nominated on several occasions for the King Clancy Award which is given “to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”
Congrats on an amazing career! Here’s to your next chapter.
Henrik Lundqvist Retires
For more on Hank’s retirement, read the full story here.