By Adam Brady
He scored 15 goals in 356 games over six seasons in Anaheim, but George Parros remains one of the most popular players in Ducks history.
Ducks fans adored him for his tireless work ethic, his tenacious fighting skills, his charming personality and -- oh yes -- that famous mustache. Even after he left Anaheim as a free agent following the 2011-12 season and ultimately played a season each with the Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens, the love for "Georgie" endured. Watch the video tribute played at Honda Center during his return to Anaheim with Florida
So it was sobering news to hear today that Parros had officially announced his retirement from the NHL
after nine seasons, a decision he had delayed while holding out hope of signing with a team this season.
Parros, his wife Tiffany and their two children recently relocated to Las Vegas, where George spoke today about his decision and reflected on a career he calls "a blessing."
What went into the timing of the retirement announcement?
|"I always tell people I played nine more years than I thought I would, so every day in the NHL and even in the minors before that was unexpected and a blessing. It was a childhood dream, so it’s been an unreal ride." |
As the summer progressed, I realized I wasn’t going to sign a deal before camp. Then camp came along and I didn’t really get any invites, so obviously the writing was on the wall. I’ve been prepared for my retirement for a little while now. I thought it was a possibility, and I knew after I didn’t sign in the summer there was trouble ahead. I was holding out hope that something would happen in training camp or maybe there would be a need for some team. But honestly, after the first two weeks of the season, I think I realized it wasn’t happening. Then it was a matter of getting my family in order and taking care of things on this end, which included moving to Vegas recently. Now I can turn the page on my career. Do you feel like the fact that you and other enforcers have had trouble finding opportunities reflects a change in the climate and style of the game?
I think that’s undeniable. There are plenty of guys doing my role who couldn’t find jobs either. I’m not the only guy. Even the guys who do have jobs this year from existing contracts are not seeing much ice time. It’s a shame. They’ve actually been scoring and producing when they have played, from what I’ve seen. But there is obviously a climate shift, and I think we all saw it coming for awhile. It’s kind of been a gradual crawl, and it’s just the way things have been going. I guess I’m not surprised by it. I’ve had a long time to come to terms with all of it. What are your initial plans in retirement?
I’m not sure right now. I’m still weighing my options. I want to stay in the game of hockey, and I want to figure out where that will be and what works out best for me and my family. I definitely want to keep the Ducks close to home, so I’ve been working with them a little bit and hopefully will in the future. I’m just waiting to see what happens when the dust settles.
What are your thoughts now that you’ve had time to reflect on your career?
|"I’d be a Hall-of-Famer if I was judged on fan support alone. It’s been everywhere I’ve played, but specifically in Anaheim, they were so great and gracious to me. It’s really overwhelming and I’m eternally grateful to have a guy like me capture the fans’ attention in that way." |
I’m not normally one for reflection, but certainly it’s hard not to a little bit at this point. I always tell people I played nine more years than I thought I would, so every day in the NHL and even in the minors before that was unexpected and a blessing. It was a childhood dream, so it’s been an unreal ride. I have no regrets. I’ve been super fortunate to play for the teams I’ve played for and have the fan support that I’ve had. I couldn’t be happier with everything. Obviously winning the Cup with the Ducks in ’07 stands out for you as a career highlight?
Without a doubt. That year was so crazy anyway. It was only my second year in the league, so I was still really fresh, and I kind of fell into it. I had played with LA the year before, but they put me on waivers the next year out of camp. They had new management and a new coaching staff, and I was hurt, so they released me. I was traded to Colorado and ended up in Anaheim a month later. I was kind of on an emotional roller coaster that season anyway, and for it to end up like that was pretty surreal. That really was an iconic team, wasn't it?
The list of big-hitters on that team was amazing. You really had that feeling all year long that something special was going to happen. When I got there, I think they were on something like a 19-game point streak, so something was brewing. The characters in that room were an incredible mix with veteran guys like Teemu and Scotty and Prongs and everybody else. You had the young guys like Getzy, Perry and Penner all contributing, and you had Jiggy and Bryzgalov in net. There were so many things that happened that year that went right. Playing with Teemu, I’m so proud to call him a teammate and a friend, because he’s probably the classiest guy in the league. It was just a great team overall. You mentioned in your retirement press release the fan support you’ve gotten over the years. Was that a big part of your career?
The fan support that I’ve gotten has been second-to-none. I’d be a Hall-of-Famer if I was judged on fan support alone. It’s been everywhere I’ve played, but specifically in Anaheim, they were so great and gracious to me. They helped support everything I did, whether it was charitable works or clothing or anything. They’ve just been there the whole time, and I couldn’t have done half the things I’ve done without the fan support. It’s really overwhelming and I’m eternally grateful to have a guy like me capture the fans’ attention in that way. It’s not lost on me by any means.