Longtime Washington Capitals Forward Brooks Laich Officially Announces Retirement From Hockey

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While last playing an NHL game during the 2017-18 season, former Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich formally announced his retirement from professional hockey today, ending an NHL career that spanned parts of 13 seasons.

The 38-year old former sixth-round pick of the Ottawa Senators officially called it quits in a post to Instagram on June, thanking many people while saying, “There comes a time in every athlete’s life where we must let go of what was, so we can fully step into what will be”.

Laich spent over a decade within the Capitals organization, being acquired by the team during their rebuild in the early 2000’s in a trade that saw franchise great and fan favorite Peter Bondra head to Ottawa. Laich would spent time in the American Hockey League, helping the Caps’ AHL affiliate Hershey Bears to a Calder Cup championship in 2006, before being recalled to the NHL roster, where he eventually established himself as a key component in the team’s return to contention during the famed “Young Guns” era.

Laich would prove to be a versatile forward, contributing with a well-rounded game that also saw his offensive game flourish, recording a career-high 24 goals and 58 points during the Capitals’ President’s Trophy-winning 2009-10 season, and recording a combined 201 points (80 goals, 121 assists) in 324 Games Played from 2008-2012. However, an injury suffered during overseas play prior to the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season would see Laich struggle to return to prior form, and his offensive production drop precipitously, after signing a six-year, $27 million contract during the 2011 offseason, an average annual value of $4.5 million.

With other players establishing themselves within the lineup, Laich found himself bounced around the bottom-six, and over the course of the subsequent seasons, his cap hit became a burden on the team’s ability to make other moves. On February 28, 2016, shortly before the NHL Trade Deadline, the Caps traded Laich, defensive prospect Connor Carrick, and a second-round draft pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Daniel Winnik and a fifth-round pick. Upon Laich’s return to Washington, the team paid tribute during the game (a moment he called the “most humbling moment” of his NHL career).

Laich would play just 21 games with the Maple Leafs, recording seven points, with a minus-six rating, before being placed on waivers that October. He would spend time with the team’s AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies before being placed on waivers again after voicing his desire to seek a Stanley Cup championship elsewhere. Laich would not see any interest from an NHL team until signed to a Professional Tryout Offer with the Los Angeles Kings in training camp of 2017. While unsigned prior to the start of the season, injuries to their lineup saw Los Angeles give Laich a one-year, $650,000 deal. In 12 Games Played, Laich recorded one assist, before his contract was terminated.

Laich played parts of 13 NHL seasons (most with the Capitals), during which time he recorded 332 (134 Goals, 198 Assists) Points in 776 Games Played, with a minus-19 rating. In 742 Games Played with the Capitals, Laich recorded 133 Goals, 191 Assists, and 324 Points. He currently ranks 10th in franchise history in Games Played, seventh in Shorthanded Goals (10), and 10th in Shots (1,423).

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. His favorite player became former Capital Nate Schmidt after he met Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles, and enjoys photography, watching WildEarth TV's SafariLive live safaris, and watching animals in his spare time. (Photo by Adam Vingan in 2014 at the Capitals Development Camp).
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4 Responses to Longtime Washington Capitals Forward Brooks Laich Officially Announces Retirement From Hockey

  1. hockeydruid says:

    Now please go get this man and make him a coach!!

  2. Diane Doyle says:

    I remember so many stories on Laich. Stories to include:

    1) Assisted on Michael Nylander’s last NHL goal and William Nylander’s first NHL goal
    2) Helping a woman change a tire after a playoff game (that the Caps unfortunately lost)
    3) A FB friend of mine wrote a tribute to him, posted numerous pics, and reported seeing him after church one Christmas eve. (Fun fact: that church is the same one that one of my closest friends from HS had attended and ultimately got married in. I presume that’s the church he normally attended when in DC area when he was available to attend.)
    4) Laich appearing at an autograph show, banged up after an injury (face) but still able to play

  3. Anonymous says:

    I remember Bruce Laich ALWAYS going to the net, blocking the opponent goalie’s vision, making it possible for others to score goals. Had the Caps ANYONE that would do that over the past couple of seasons, they would have at least 3 Cups by now, maybe a whole potful.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Happy retirement, Brooksie!

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