Former Capitals defenseman Connor Hobbs is retiring from the NHL at age 23. The Regina Leader-Post’s Greg Harder first reported the news.
Hobbs was initially a restricted free agent before the Capitals decided to not tender him a qualifying order on October 7, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Instead of signing elsewhere, Hobbs chose to end his NHL career, but will still play hockey – albeit not professionally.
Home is where the heart is for former Regina Pats star Connor Hobbs https://t.co/fjlLGPO8SO
— Regina Leader-Post (@leaderpost) October 22, 2020
Hobbs enrolled in online classes at the University of Saskatchewan and will try to get a business degree. Hobbs will also play on the Huskies’ hockey team with his younger brother Declan.
The Capitals’ 2015 fifth-round pick cited a loss of love for the game after spending much of his AHL career injured. Hobbs missed 95 games over the last three seasons with the Hershey Bears. Hobbs said he was not having a lot of success and told the Regina Leader-Post that he was “really in a dark place” and “truly just was not happy.”
Hobbs’ 2019-20 season ended early after tearing his rotator cuff in January. He is still rehabbing his shoulder and expects to be able to play hockey again in December. Hobbs’ also fractured his wrist during his rookie season after trying to land a big hit on a player into the boards. During his junior and AHL career, Hobbs suffered an estimated seven concussions – four in junior and three in the AHL.
“It scares you when you have to sit in a room for 25 days and just have the lights off,” Hobbs said. “You can kind of lose it a little bit. I don’t want to experience that anymore.
“There comes a point when you need to choose your own health, whether it’s mental health, physical health, whatever. You only have one brain. It’s something you don’t want to mess with.”
Hobbs is the second promising Capitals’ defense prospect to end his career early due to injury in recent memory. Patrick Wey retired in 2015 after suffering two concussions in seven months.
The Hershey Bears thanked Hobbs for everything he did in the chocolate and white shortly after the story went public.
Best of luck to former Bear Connor Hobbs! He's stepping away from pro hockey and has joined his brother in U Sports with the Saskatchewan Huskies. We will miss his great personality and the laughs the @bearsblueline podcast brought! https://t.co/QiNiOGlYwW
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) October 22, 2020
Hobbs scored 36 points (7g, 29a) in 119 games with Hershey.
Headline photo: Amanda Bowen/RMNB
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