After 14 years of professional hockey, eight of which were spent in the NHL, Wojtek Wolski is calling it a career at age 34. Wolski was one of the greatest shootout specialists in NHL history and a bonafide top-six player early in his career.
Wolski, who played 27 games with the Washington Capitals, announced his retirement on Instagram.
I always knew the day would come. Today I would like to announce that I am officially retiring from professional hockey.
I still remember it like it was yesterday. 2004 NHL draft. I was so excited and am truly grateful that the @coloradoavalanche drafted me. @peterforsbergofficial and @j_sakic19 were 2 of my favourite players growing up and I had a chance to play with them both.
The veteran players would always say to enjoy it because it flies by. At the time as a young cocky kid I thought I would play forever. Now it seems like it flashed before my eyes.
Hockey has given me and my family so much over the years and I am so thankful. I had the chance to play with so many great players and for some incredible teams. I’ve learned so much about myself and life through my experiences during my career.
Thank you to all the organizations, coaches and players I have had the pleasure to work alongside. The ups and the downs have shaped me into who I am today and it’s been a wild ride.
I will miss the game but am extremely excited to spend time with my Wife and 3 kids, but also for the next phase of my life. Thank you to everyone who helped me along the way. @nyrangers @flapanthers @capitals @arizonacoyotes @hcmetallurg @hctorpedo @krschina @hcocelaricz @hcap_official @hockeycanada @teamcanada @sts.sanok @ohlbattalion @nhlpa @nhl @mariolemieuxfdn
Wolski received congratulations on Instagram from Capitals’ players Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson and former Capital Daniel Winnik.
Wolski is weeks removed from winning Battle of the Blades, a Canadian competition TV show aired on CBC (similar to the United States’ Dancing With The Stars), with dance partner Meagan Duhamel. They competed on behalf of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation and for The Hospital for Sick Children.
Wolski was drafted 21st overall in the 2004 NHL Draft by the Colorado Avalanche. His first three full seasons with the Avs would be the greatest of his career, scoring 22, 18, and 14 goals respectively. The Polish hockey player would also be a revelation in the shootout, showing off an amazing dangling ability.
He once even scored on Braden Holtby with the Peter Forsberg move.
Wolski has the 36th most shootout goals in NHL history (25) and finished his career with a 43.1 shooting percentage.
During his only season with the Capitals (2013), Wolski scored nine points in 23 games (4g, 5a) under the tutelage of Adam Oates.
After his stop in Washington, the Polish forward would move to the KHL where he would play for three different teams (Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, and Kunlun Red Star).
During the 2016-17 season, Wolski broke his neck in two places during a game for Metallurg Magnitogorsk. He was a teammate of Ilya Samsonov.
The injury would only sideline Wolski for a year.
The next season Wolski made a miraculous comeback with the Kunlun Red Star and scored 28 points in 32 games. He would play three more seasons after the injury.
During his career, Wolski won a bronze medal as a member of the Canadian Olympic hockey team in Pyeongchang and won a KHL championship in 2016 with Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
Other career accomplishments, via Elite Prospects, include:
2002-2003 – Canada Winter Games Bronze Medal
2003-2004 – CHL Top Prospects Game
OHL First All-Star Team
2005-2006 – OHL Most Outstanding Player (Red Tilson Trophy)
OHL Most Sportsmanlike Player (William Hanley Trophy)
OHL Second All-Star Team
2006-2007 – NHL Rookie of the Month (December)
NHL YoungStars Roster
2014-2015 – KHL All-Star Game
2015-2016 – KHL Gagarin Cup Champion
2017-2018 – Olympic Bronze Medal
Congratulations, Wojtek! What a career.
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