Blues’ McDonald retires due to health concerns

St. Louis Blues forward Andy McDonald announced his retirement from the NHL Thursday.

St. Louis Blues forward Andy McDonald announced his retirement from the NHL Thursday due to post-concussion concerns.

“I’m fortunate to get out now,” the 35-year-old McDonald told Andy Strickland of “I know I could play two or three more years and I love the game of hockey, but health-wise I know I shouldn’t be playing.”

Over the course of his 11-year career, McDonald racked up 489 points in 685 career games with the Blues and the Anaheim Ducks, with whom he won a Stanley Cup in 2007.

But the Strathroy, Ont., native also racked up five concussions during his playing days, two during his last six years with St. Louis.

McDonald scored 21 points in 37 regular-season games for the Blues this season, but went pointless during his team’s first-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Once that series ended, McDonald told Strickland he knew it was time to put away the skates — something he had been thinking about during the regular season as well.

“The last few years, too much of the focus became worrying about the next hit,” McDonald said. “I was always thinking about it.”

Had he decided to pursue professional hockey, McDonald would’ve become an unrestricted free agent on July 5 as his four-year deal with the Blues was complete.

An undrafted free agent, McDonald signed with the Ducks in April 2000 after an impressive four-season run at Colgate University. He was integral to the Ducks’ 2007 Cup victory, scoring 10 playoff goals during their championship run.

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