Three years after playing his last NHL hockey game, Brooks Laich, 38, formally announced his retirement from professional hockey on Friday. “It’s been a difficult journey for me to finally arrive at the state where I am happy say the words ‘I am retiring,'” Laich wrote on Instagram. “Every athlete experiences this transition differently, and though the process went slower than I had hoped, I am excited to have finally arrived at peace with it.”
Laich, who spent the vast majority of his career with the Washington Capitals, played his final season in the NHL during the 2017-18 season where he suited up in 12 games for the Los Angeles Kings.
Laich wrote on Instagram:
There comes a time in every athletes life where we must let go of what was, so we can fully step into what will be.
That time has finally arrived for me, and today I formally announce my retirement from professional hockey.
It has been over 3 years since I last played in the @nhl, and it’s been a difficult journey for me to finally arrive at the state where I am happy say the words “I am retiring”
Every athlete experiences this transition differently, and though the process went slower than I had hoped, I am excited to have finally arrived at peace with it.
I reflect on my entire hockey journey with immense pride, for I poured my heart and soul into being the best hockey player I could be for over three decades.
I was able to express myself though the sport I loved, and compete with and against the best in the world for 13 seasons in the @nhl. Every single moment was a privilege and an honor – and I lived my childhood dream every single day!
I am beyond grateful for the people who have helped make my dream possible, starting with mom and dad. I simply do not have adequate words to say what your love and support have meant to me, but know that none is this would have been possible without your belief in me.
To my brother and sister – I thank you for always being my cheerleaders, and supporting my journey in every way you could.
To my closest friends, thank you for your continued friendship and support, even despite long distances and times apart.
To my agent Roly Thompson, thank you for 17 years of partnership and friendship.
And to everyone else – my teammates, coaches, trainers, friends, and fans – I thank you for touching my life and my career in countless ways. Every single one of you has played a role in my success, and I am eternally grateful for each and every one of you.
Hockey is a great game, and afforded me so many blessings in life. Every sport will ultimately outlive the athletes that play it, and it’s a joy to now watch the next generation of hockey players as they take the sport to new heights!
My entire hockey journey has always been just a boy playing the game he loved, and that’s how I will choose to remember it… 🏒😄
Laich came to the Capitals in February 2004 after then Caps GM George McPhee made the decision to rebuild and trade, at the time, the greatest player in the franchise’s history, Peter Bondra. The Capitals sent Bonzai to the Ottawa Senators for Laich, a center prospect, and a second-round pick. The trades would eventually lead the Capitals to win the Draft Lottery and select Alex Ovechkin with the first overall pick.
“We’re supposed to be big, tough guys, but there were a lot of tears this morning,” McPhee said of trading Bondra according to the Associated Press. “We thought it was best for Peter. We worked harder to find the best place for him to play. Peter didn’t want to leave. This wasn’t something management and ownership wanted to do. We thought it was good for Peter and good for us.”
Despite that long shadow, Laich, a 2006 sixth-round pick, would turn himself into an everyday player in Washington and one of the most memorable players of the Alex Ovechkin Era. Laich scored 324 points (133g, 191a) during his 742-game career in Washington, becoming a fan favorite for his good looks, personality, tenacious hockey, and memorable quotes.
“If you want money, go to the bank. If you want bread, go to the bakery. If you want goals, go to the net,” Laich said famously during the 2007-08 season.
Named after Orioles baseball legend Brooks Robinson, Laich helped the Capitals make the playoffs in seven of his 10 seasons in DC and served as an alternate captain later in his career. The forward from Wawota, Saskatchewan, scored over 20 goals in three consecutive seasons from 2007 to 2010, including career-high 25 goals and 59 points in 78 games during the 2009-10 campaign.
After the Capitals were upset by the Montreal Canadiens in Game Seven, Laich earned national fame after he pulled over to change a fan’s tire. Laich was nominated as one of Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year.
Laich, however, would never hit the 20-goal mark again and struggled with injury after suffering a hamstring injury with the Kloten Flyers during the 2012 lockout. Laich would eventually have groin surgery in March 2014 and be shut down for the rest of the season.
Two years later, the Capitals traded Laich and Connor Carrick to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Daniel Winnik at the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline. The trade was emotional for many Capitals fans, Laich included.
“A lot of emotions,” Laich said. “Had a good situation in DC. Had been there for 12 years. A lot of friends. My heart was really there.”
Laich would finish his career with the LA Kings. Laich impressed during training camp after scoring an OTGWG in his preseason debut with the team and later earned a contract when Jeff Carter went down injured.
Since his hockey career ended, Laich, recently divorced from movie star, dancer, and singer Julianne Hough, has settled down at his lake house in Idaho, becoming an outdoor and fitness junkie and an everyday presence on Instagram. He also has a podcast with Gavin DeGraw called What Men Think (we reviewed the first episode). Laich is currently offering a stay and nature/fitness experience at his home to 8 “lucky guests” for $7,995.
Laich also recently promoted the newest GoPro with this amazing rafting video.
Laich was always kind to the media, fans, and his teammates. We wish him the best in his post-playing career.
Thanks for all the wonderful memories, Brooks, and don’t be a stranger in DC in the future.
— MSE Foundation (@MSEFndn) June 25, 2021
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