For many hockey players making it to the NHL is like winning the lottery and when it is time to hang up the skates and call it a career that can be a tall order.
Today former Vancouver Canucks’s forward Derek Dorsett met with the media for the first time since announcing his retirement due to a neck injury.
Dorsett first announced his retirement through a press release in November and said he was “devastated” that he could not play another game in the National Hockey League.
Before the press conference
Yesterday Dorsett released a letter and told people not to feel sorry for him.
“I lived the dream every Canadian kid wants to have. I got to play in the greatest league in the world, in the greatest sport in the world.”
In the letter he also touched on briefly what the next chapter in his life might hold.
“I have other interests, including real estate and construction. I partner in a construction company with my dad and brothers, but I’m not going to rush into anything. I would like to stay in the game. Like my dad, I’m going to coach my sons. ”
Dorsett concludes the letter by thanking the NHL organizations he has been involved with and says his dreams came true by playing in the NHL.
“Thank you to the Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. This has been a dream come true. Don’t feel sorry for me. Hockey gave me everything I’ve ever wanted and more. It led me to my wife and kids. I’m going to enjoy a long life with them.”
Addressing the Media
Dorsett told reporters part of the reason he released the letter yesterday was he didn’t want to get emotional during the press conference today in Vancouver.
He confirmed that he has made “peace” with the fact that his NHL career is now over and that he is moving on to the next chapter of his life.
“In the longer term aspect, your health is everything and I think that’s why I know I’ve come to peace with it; that I’m making the right decision to step away and look after myself. It wouldn’t be fair to me or my kids if I couldn’t be healthy enough to enjoy this next chapter of my life.”
According to Dorsett, he knew at the beginning of the season that his neck injury could force him into early retirement; however, he says he didn’t change his style of play because of that.
“All a long I kinda knew if I had more issues with my neck this would be the outcome, possibly, and here we are today. I wasn’t going to change the way I played and I wasn’t just going to go out and give a 50% effort.”
It was also confirmed today by Dorsett that retirement was the only option on the table and that when he met with doctors they did not pitch ideas on how he could continue his career.
Support from around the NHL
Both teammates and players from around the league have reached out to Dorsett, including Dion Phaneuf and Milan Lucic.
“The support from current and former teammates. They said things that made me really proud.”
Dorsett told reporters that he is proud to have played his final season in a Canadian hockey market and to have gotten to play with the Sedin twins.
“They’re two quality guys. You look at what they have done over their career and the way they carry themselves on and off the ice. They make everyone better. I’m glad I can say I got the opportunity to play with them.”
Dorsett finishes his career with a total of 515 games played and in those games he scored 51 goals and had 76 assists.