Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw has announced he will "stop playing the game" due to numerous concussions and a recommendation from doctors.
"There comes a time when every athlete needs to realize when their health is a priority and a future with their family is what is most important," Shaw said in a statement Monday. "That point for me is now. After several concussions, doctors have strongly recommended I stop playing the game that I love. For once in my life, I am going to listen."
Shaw was moved from injured reserve to long-term IR last month following numerous concussions. The team's physician said a concussion on Feb. 9 against the Dallas Stars was the final straw.
"Though he has recovered, given the potential long-term consequences of repetitive concussions, we have advised him to discontinue his career as a professional hockey player," team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement. "The Blackhawks are very supportive of his decision to prioritize his long-term health."
Shaw, who won two Stanley Cups in Chicago, became an integral part of the Blackhawks after being drafted in 2011. He was traded to the Montreal Canadiens following the Hawks' 2015 championship, then was traded back to Chicago in 2019.
"My first game as a rookie with the Chicago Blackhawks still sticks out in my mind," Shaw said in his statement. "In my second shift, I had my first fight in the National Hockey League. I followed that up with my first NHL goal in the second period. From that point on, I knew I had a chance to be this team’s underdog. A player that could represent the city of Chicago’s blue-collar mentality. Be their mutt if you will."
He went on to thank his family, his teammates and his fans.
"I will miss the locker room and my teammates from both Chicago and Montreal. I hope they will miss me too. Though I might have been excessively loud, pulled a prank once or twice and given you a hard time, I always prided myself on keeping the mood light and being the best teammate I could be. It was a pleasure competing with you night in and night out," he wrote.
"Most of all, I will miss the fans," he continued. "I was lucky enough to play in two of the best hockey cities and fanbases in the world in Chicago and Montreal and I am grateful for my experiences with all of you. I gave everything I had every night for you, and you are the reason this was one of the toughest decisions in my life."
Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman said he admired Shaw's decision for "putting his family and well-being first."
"No two moments sum up Andrew Shaw more than his famous ‘headbutt no-goal’ and his game-winning goal in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2013 that ricocheted off his shinpads," Bowman wrote. "Throughout his 10-year career with the Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens, Andrew was always willing to lay his body on the line and put his teammates before himself. He epitomized energy, determination, grit, and toughness and was a player his teammates loved to play with, but his opponents hated to play against."
"Andrew will always have a home here in Chicago and we wish him and his family nothing but the best in the next chapter of their lives," Bowman added.