Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson retires after 12 seasons in an open letter

St. Louis Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson retired Wednesday after 12 seasons.

Drafted as a seventh-round long shot by Toronto in 2007, the 34-year-old Swede wound up playing 629 games with the Maple Leafs (2009-14) and Blues (2014-21). He won a Stanley Cup with St. Louis in 2019.

Gunnarsson announced his retirement in an open letter

One of the best times in my life was preceded by a year of struggle. Roughly 14 months before I hoisted the glorious Stanley Cup I had knee surgery going in to the last year of my contract. It was a long road getting back and when I eventually did, I found myself battling yet another injury. I found a way to push through and so did our team that year, going on our unforgettable Cup run. To end a year like that – by winning what we all dream of – was beyond my wildest imagination. Crying tears of joy with my wife and with my brother on the ice after Game 7 is something that will never be erased from my memory. And to personally have had an impact with a game-winning goal in Game 2 of the Final will always make me pinch my arm in disbelief.

Carl Gunnarsson essay

“As I hang up my skates for the last time I’m not sure what the future holds for me. But I know I’ll love the game of hockey, no matter how hard she makes it,” he wrote, in part.

“So I’d like to thank her, the game of hockey, for letting me love her and for all that she has given. I’d like to thank all the fans, friends, staff, coaches, teammates and everyone I’ve crossed paths with during my time with her.”

Gunnarsson registered 138 points (30 goals, 108 assists) and 179 penalty minutes over his career, including two points in 12 games in his final season in 2020-21.

He added a goal and six assists in 68 playoff games. His goal was the overtime winner against the Boston Bruins in a 3-2 victory in Game 2 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

–Field Level Media