Andy McDonald is still playing at a high level in the National Hockey League, and could undoubtedly continue to do so, but he’s making the decision to retire early. It felt like every time things seemed to be going perfectly for him he ran into injury troubles, the biggest concern of which is the damage being done to his brain.
Andy Strickland first reported the news here.
McDonald had five documented concussions over the course of an 11-year NHL career, including two with the St. Louis Blues. The threat of another head injury not only ending his career but also the potential long-term effects began consuming the former All-Star.
“The last few years too much of the focus became worrying about the next hit. I was always thinking about it.” Said McDonald.
Retirement began creeping into McDonald’s head during the regular season but it wasn’t until after the Blues were eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings did he become 100% sure. He spent the last several weeks with his family and is confident now is the right time to move on with his life.
“I’m fortunate to get out now. I know I could play two or three more years and I love the game of hockey, but healthwise I know I shouldn’t be playing.”
There’s no doubt that this is the right choice for him, unfortunate though it may be.
The bright side is that he did have an awfully full career despite those injury concerns. He played nearly 700 games from 2000-2013, tallied nearly 500 points, and won a Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007.