Vancouver, BC - Vancouver Canucks General Manager, Jim Benning announced today that Derek Dorsett will not return to the Canucks active roster due to health reasons and risks associated with playing. Dorsett has played 515 NHL games through 10 seasons (51-76-127) with three teams (Columbus, New York Rangers, Vancouver).
Dorsett's care, led by Canucks Head Team Physician Dr. Bill Regan and Director Rehabilitation, Dr. Rick Celebrini, began with a treatment and rehabilitation regimen to address an ongoing condition. In December of 2016 the decision to perform cervical disc herniation surgery was made and performed by Dr. Robert Watkins.
Following surgery Dorsett progressed through successful treatment and rehabilitation, consistent with expectations, and was cleared to play at the start of the 2017.18 season. Recently, symptoms of neck and back stiffness presented.
Dr. Bill Regan:
"We've evaluated Derek's health and fitness to play consistent with every player's medical history. When his latest symptoms presented we immediately took the precaution of removing him from the line-up to carry out a thorough evaluation, including consultation with Dr. Watkins. His pre-existing conditions, combined with the recent surgery and the risks associated with continuing to play led to a recommendation that Derek seriously consider not playing again."
Dr. Robert Watkins:
"The latest evaluation of Derek's neck revealed that he's sustained a cervical disc herniation adjacent and separate to his previous fusion," said Dr. Watkins. "Given his current condition and the long-term, significant health risks, I advised Derek not to return to play."
"I'm devastated by the news. It will take a long time for this to truly sink in. As hard as it was to hear, Dr. Watkins' diagnosis is definitive. There is no grey area, and it gives me clarity to move forward. I have a healthy young family and a long life of opportunities ahead of me. Hockey taught me a lot and it will help me be successful in whatever I choose to do in the future.
"I still have so many thoughts to share and people to thank for all of their support," continued Dorsett. "What I can say for certain right now is that I left it all out on the ice. I gave my heart and soul to the teams I played for and never backed down from a challenge, including this one. I am proud of the way I played. It made me successful and a good teammate. Most of all I am truly honoured and grateful to have lived the NHL dream."
"Derek overcame the odds to make the NHL and play over 500 games," said Jim Benning. "He's an example of what you can accomplish when you persevere. He is a great teammate, a terrific role model and leader for younger players. This is truly unfortunate news for Derek, his family and our team. We will be there every step of the way to support him, his wife Ali and his family as they take the next steps in their lives."
Dorsett will conduct media availability at a date in the near future.