Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook ends playing career after 15 seasons

Brent Seabrook speaks to the media following his decision to retire after 15 NHL seasons. Seabrook mentions the difficulties physically as the reason to why he's decided to hang up his skates.

Longtime Chicago Blackhawks defenceman and three-time Stanley Cup winner Brent Seabrook announced Friday he is unable to continue playing hockey because of injury.

After surgeries on his right shoulder and both hips, it's a lingering right hip issue that's keeping the 35-year-old Canadian from getting back on the ice. Seabrook could remain on long-term injured reserve and not technically retire because he has three years remaining on his contract.

``Not sure it was a decision I made or my body made for me,'' Seabrook said in a video news conference. ``I told my body to screw off for 15 years and it finally turned around and said, `I'm not going to do it anymore.'''

The 6-foot-3 Seabrook was a key player and leader for Chicago for more than a decade. He had 103 goals and 361 assists in 1,114 games, plus 20 goals and 39 assists in 123 playoff appearances _ all with the Blackhawks after they selected him 14th overall in the 2003 draft.

He helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015. He also won a gold medal playing for Team Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

``Over his entire 15-year career with the Blackhawks, Brent Seabrook gave everything he had to his teammates and the city of Chicago,'' president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman said. ``His determination to win, passion for the game and innate ability to lead culminated in bringing three Stanley Cups to Chicago.''

Seabrook's physical style slowly took a toll and his last NHL game was on Dec. 15, 2019. He had right shoulder surgery later that month, left hip surgery in January 2020 and right hip surgery last February.

``We have tried all available conservative treatments, and nothing has worked well enough for him to live life as an athlete,'' team physician Dr. Michael Terry said. ``We support his decision to prioritize his long-term physical health.''

Seabrook, who turns 36 next month, tried to return last summer when the season resumed amid the pandemic. But he decided he didn't have enough time to reach a level where he would be comfortable playing again and he hurt his lower back while preparing for this season. He missed all of training camp and was placed on injured reserve.

Seabrook is owed $15.5 million over the next three seasons before his contract expires. NHL rules allow Chicago to keep him and pay him without his $6.875 million salary-cap hit counting against the team's spending up to the $81.5 million limit.

Bowman said Seabrook is on longterm injured reserve for now.

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