Rockford, Illinois News

Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook announces retirement after 15 seasons

Veteran battled injuries to both hips

CHICAGO — Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook is calling it career, announcing Friday that it is not possible for him to return to the lineup after several surgeries and countless hours of rehab.

“I am so proud to have played my entire 15-year National Hockey League career in Chicago with the Blackhawks,” Seabrook wrote in a statement. “It was an honor to play the game that I love, with teammates I love, in front of fans I love, in a city that my family and I have grown to love. This is what is best for me and my family. The love and support of my wife, Dayna, and my kids, Carter, Kenzie and Dylan has meant everything to me. My parents, Gary and Suzanne, and my brother Keith, have been behind me every step of the way and are my foundation.”

Seabrook continued: “I want to thank the Blackhawks organization – including the Wirtz Family, Rocky and Danny Wirtz, Stan Bowman and Jeremy Colliton – who have been very supportive throughout this process. I’m thankful for all that the Blackhawks have done for me and my career. This organization drafted me as an 18-year-old kid out of western Canada and this team became my family away from home. In addition, I’m thankful for the Blackhawks medical and training staff for always putting me in the best position to succeed on the ice. Over the past 15 years, I’ve played with and for some incredible teammates and coaches. I thank each and every one of you. It was an honor to wear the Blackhawks sweater and go to battle with you night in and night out. I loved being your teammate.

“Lastly, to the great fans of the Chicago Blackhawks, thank you. I sacrificed everything for this team in our quest to lift three Stanley Cups and gave it everything I had for you. I couldn’t have asked for a better fan base to play for. You, more than anyone, kept me honest and always pushed me to be better – while also cheering me as your All-Star and Champion. Lifting the Stanley Cup in 2015 in front of all the fans at the United Center will be a memory I’ll never forget. You have truly made Chicago a second home. My family and I will be forever grateful for your love and support and I look forward to always having a special connection with you the fans. I will always be a Blackhawk.”

Blackhawks President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Stan Bowman said the 35-year-old British Columbia native gave everything he had to his teammates and the city of Chicago from the first time he stepped into the United Center as a 20-year-old rookie.

“His determination to win, passion for the game and innate ability to lead culminated in bringing three Stanley Cups to Chicago,” Bowman said. “Because of the sacrifices he made for his team, Brent’s hockey career has been cut short due to injury. On the ice, Brent consistently played big minutes, shutting down top opposing offensive players and showed up in the most crucial of moments throughout his career.

“We all remember his overtime game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Detroit Red Wings in 2013. His contributions on the ice were matched by his leadership off it. Brent embodied all the qualities of a true leader. Serving as an alternate captain, Brent’s presence was consistently felt in the locker room. He embraced the role of mentor to young players, taking them under his wing and making them feel important. His voice was a constant in the room and he brought so much more than just his on-ice skills.

“Without Brent Seabrook, the Chicago Blackhawks would not have three Stanley Cups. He concludes his career as not only one of the best defensemen in franchise history, but one the greatest Chicago Blackhawks of all time. We cannot thank Brent enough for what he did for the Blackhawks organization, the city of Chicago and this fan base. He will always be a part of the Blackhawks family and we wish him well in his life after hockey.”

Seabrook returned to the ice last year when the NHL resumed practices during the pandemic but did not join the Blackhawks in the COVID-19 bubble for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“Over a three-month period from December 2019 to February 2020, Brent underwent successful surgeries on both of his hips and his right shoulder,” Blackhawks Team Physician Dr. Michael Terry said. “He has worked extremely hard to recover from those surgeries but has a long-term issue with his right hip that is preventing him from playing professional hockey. We have tried all available conservative treatments, and nothing has worked well enough for him to live life as an athlete. We support his decision to prioritize his long-term physical health.”

Seabrook made his NHL debut during the 2005-06 season after a six-year junior career. He went on to skate in 1,114 games and won three Stanley Cups with Chicago. Seabrook also played three games for the Norfolk Admirals.