Kris Versteeg, 2-time Stanley Cup champion, retires from NHL
33-year-old cherishes relationships formed with teammates, others over 11 seasons
Two-time Stanley Cup champion Kris Versteeg has retired after 11 NHL seasons.
The 33-year-old forward from Lethbridge, Alta., amassed 149 goals and 358 points in 643 regular-season games, as well as 18 goals and 30 assists in 93 playoff contests.
Versteeg won Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 and 2015. He scored outdoor-game goals for the Blackhawks at both Wrigley Field (2009) and Soldier Field (2014).
He was a Calder Memorial Trophy finalist for the league's top rookie in 2009 with 22 goals and 31 assists.
Versteeg also had stints with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames during his career.
He underwent hip surgery during the 2017-18 season. Versteeg played his final NHL game on March 18, 2018 for the Flames against the Vegas Golden Knights.
'I took a lot for granted'
"What a run it was," Versteeg said Tuesday in a statement released by the NHL Players' Association.
"A kid from North Lethbridge who played on the streets every day, dreaming of playing in the NHL. I took a lot for granted in my time in the NHL.
"But the one thing I never took for granted were the relationships I made with my teammates and staff of the hockey clubs I played for."
Versteeg singled out his first minor pro coach Scott Gordon, as well as former Blackhawks and current Panthers general manager Dale Tallon.
"There was one guy who took a kid with a different personality and a massive chip on his shoulder and helped give him hope, and that was Scott Gordon," Versteeg said. "Dale Tallon also took a chance on me and gave me multiple opportunities throughout my career.
Final pro game with Slovakian squad
"I know I wasn't always the easiest to deal with. Without people like Scott and Dale, the road to today would not be what it was.
"Thank you to every organization I was able to play for. I didn't realize it then, but I certainly appreciate now how amazing it was to play in the NHL."
Versteeg re-joined the Blackhawks organization to start this past season as captain of the American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs.
He left the organization in November and played his final professional game in Slovakia with HK Nitra with his brother Mitch as a teammate.
Versteeg lives in Brooklin, Ont., with his wife Brittany and their three children.