Patric Hornqvist, the renowned Swedish player, has officially announced his retirement from the NHL. The news was confirmed by Hornqvist himself in an interview with Sportbladet on Wednesday.
Hornqvist, 36, has had a decorated career in the NHL, marked by remarkable achievements and a compelling journey from being the last player drafted in 2005 to becoming one of the most respected players in the league. The Nashville Predators selected him with the final pick of the 2005 NHL draft (No. 230), and to this day, he remains the only last pick in league history to play at least 900 career games.
Hornqvist’s career is highlighted by his tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he won back-to-back Stanley Cups, even scoring the series-clincher in 2017 against the Predators. Despite being part of a team highlighted by stars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Hornqvist’s contribution was key to the Penguins’ success.
However, his career was not without its challenges. Injuries, specifically concussions, piled up throughout his career and ultimately led to his decision to retire. His final NHL game was in December against Seattle, after which he was placed on long-term injured reserve.
Reflecting on his decision to retire, Hornqvist said, “Hockey has been a huge part of life ever since I was a kid, so of course it’s a difficult decision to make, but I have my injury history and don’t want to risk anything in the future. I feel good now and hopefully have many good years ahead of me and with my injury history I don’t want to risk future ones.”
Despite the injuries, Hornqvist’s impact on the game was undeniable. He was known for his tenacity, his ability to score crucial goals, and his leadership on and off the ice. His career stats speak volumes about his contribution to the sport – 264 goals and 279 assists in 901 career games.
Hornqvist’s legacy in the NHL is one of resilience and determination. His journey from being the last player drafted to becoming a two-time Stanley Cup champion is a testament to his hard work and dedication. His retirement marks the end of an era, but his impact on the game will continue to be felt for years to come.
“When I look back, it’s fantastic to think that I have, for example, two Stanley Cup rings on my account, and a World Cup gold, and that I was actually involved and contributed to those victories,” Hornqvist said. “I could never have dreamed of that.”