Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has announced that he is retiring from the game of hockey. He made the announcement on his social media accounts early Friday morning.
Lundqvist first publicly announced his retirement in a press conference that began just after 3 p.m. (a little after 9 a.m. in Washington) on Friday at Scandinavium Arena in Gothenburg, Sweden.
“It’s the place where I watched my first real hockey game when I was 6 years old,” Lundqvist told The New York Post before he made the trip to the rink Friday morning. “That’s where I really started to watch hockey. That’s when my dream began that one day I would play there for Frolunda,” said Lundqvist.
“When [this] summer started, my plan was still to come back,” said Lundqvist, who signed with the Capitals in October of 2020 but did not play a game for them before undergoing open-heart surgery in early January. “I started working out again and was skating, but without any contact. But there were some setbacks. Too much exertion caused some chest pain,” Lundqvist told the Post.
“I was hoping I would be 100 percent by this time. But I was told that inflammation takes a long time to correct and with medication I might be out of the woods, but it could be another full year before I would be 100 percent.
“So I thought about this, talked with my closest friends, my family and my wife, Therese. This year was probably harder for her than for me. She is such a strong woman. It came down to how badly I wanted to push it, how much of a gamble did I want to take? And I came to the conclusion that there are too many unknowns and too much risk for not enough reward for me to keep playing.
“I’m OK with this. I am. I feel like I’m at a very strong place mentally after going through all of the challenges of the last year, starting with when the Rangers bought me out,” said No. 30. “For the last eight months or so, there has been so much waiting-and-seeing, and I have not been in the driver’s seat. I’ve been in the passenger’s seat. Now there was a decision to make.
“It’s all still fresh. I decided only a few days ago. But I am at peace. I look back at my career, and all I have is gratitude and pride. I am just so grateful.”
Lundqvist, 39, will always be linked to his years with the New York Rangers, with whom he was a five-time All-Star and won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie in 2011-12. After his run with the Rangers ended, Lundqvist signed a one-year deal with the Washington Capitals for 2020-21 but never played for the team after undergoing open-heart surgery in January.
Lundqvist retires with a record of 459-310-96 in 887 career NHL games, with a save percentage of .918, a 2.43 goals-against average and 64 shutouts. He is the Rangers franchise leader in all those categories.
By Jon Sorensen