Former New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist announced his retirement from the NHL less than nine months after undergoing open-heart surgery.
“It’s time,” Lundqvist, 39, said in a social media statement Friday. “I’ve committed my life to the game of hockey for the last 30 years… and now it’s time to step away from the game I love and start a new chapter.”
“The future excites me. I’ve met so many amazing people over the years that will help to guide and inspire me in my new journey.”
Lundqvist also told Swedish newspaper Goteborgs-Posten that he will need another heart procedure.
“We will see how extensive it will be,” he said. “Treatments are getting better, so we will see if they’ll open up the chest or not. But that will be a problem for the future.”
Lundqvist was the face of the Rangers organization — and one of the most popular athletes in New York City — for more than a decade. He was a five-time All-Star selection and won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender in the 2011-12 season.
After his 15-season run in New York, Lundqvist signed a one-year contract with the Washington Capitals for the 2020-21 campaign, but he never played for the team after having heart surgery in January.
Lundqvist told the New York Post that he planned to compete in the NHL this season, however, too much exertion during workouts would cause him to suffer chest pain.
The Rangers announced Friday that they will retire Lundqvist’s No. 30 this season.
“It is with mixed emotions that the New York Rangers offer our best wishes and heartfelt gratitude to Henrik Lundqvist on the announcement of his retirement,” the team said in a statement.
“Henrik’s commitment to excellence made him one of the best goaltenders to ever play the game of hockey, and we are so fortunate to have witnessed his greatness firsthand for 15 years. … Henrik is, and always will be, a Ranger.”
Lundqvist ended his career with a 459-310-96 record over 887 games. He had a .918 save percentage and a 2.43 goals-against average with 64 shutouts, finishing as the Rangers’ franchise leader in all of those categories.
He ranks sixth in league history in wins, seventh in saves (23,509), eighth in games played, ninth in starts (871) and 17th in shutouts.
Lundqvist also helped Sweden win gold at the 2006 Turin Olympics. He competed in 130 postseason games but never hoisted the Stanley Cup, coming closest in 2014 when the Rangers fell to the Los Angeles Kings in the Final.