Former captain of the legendary Canadiens Brian Gionta
has officially announced his retirement as an NHL player after a rich 16-year career. Gionta will now return to the Buffalo Sabres
as a part-time development assistant for the team’s current players.
Standing at just 5’7, Gionta always knew that his chances of getting an opportunity to play in the National Hockey League
around twenty years ago would be slim after being drafted by the New Jersey Devils
. In the ex-captain’s own words, he never though that his career would have lasted as long as it did, hoping instead that he could play just one NHL game.
However, almost two decades later, Gionta has finally called it quits at 39 years old, closing off a 16-year NHL career
on Monday. In this career, the hockey star managed to squeeze in 1,026 regular season games, not to mention another 113 in the seasonal play-offs.
Remembering His Stanley Cup Win
The highlights of his long stint in the sport have included him nabbing a Stanley Cup while playing with the 2003 Devils, captaining the Montreal Canadiens
and also the Buffalo Sabres
, and also representing the US at not one, but two editions of the Winter Olympics.
It is important to note that Gionta will not be leaving the world of hockey entirely now that he has retired. While he definitely aims to spend more time with his family in the future, he has also noted that he has accepted a mysterious new role as a developmental coach with the Sabres, as mentioned above, which he will fill part-time.
Gionta hails from Rochester, NY, and has lived in Buffalo since spending the 2014/15 and 2016/17 seasons coaching the Sabres. Commenting, the player noted that he still wants to be part of the game and the organization he loves. He said that he’s fortunate to be walking away from the game into ‘something even better’ - watching his children grow up and being there for them at every step of the way, that is.
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Onto Bigger and Better Things
When he committed to representing the US at the Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea
last year, he spent plenty of time practicing with the Buffalo American Hockey League in Rochester. Furthermore, the Sabres also persuaded him to partake in their rookie development camp last summer, keeping him very busy in the face of his looming retirement.
Gionta has retired after trying an NHL game one last time following his Olympics appearance. Back in February, he signed up with Boston, with whom he had two goals and seven assists in 21 games. Overall, his career has seen 291 goals, 595 points, and given him a 38th
place ranking among American players in games played – as well as 41st
when it comes to points.
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