Philadelphia Flyers center Keith Primeau has announced that he is retiring from professional hockey after 15 seasons of play.
Primeau gave the following statement before a press conference on Thursday, September 14:"I am here today to formally announce my retirement due to post-concussion. I would first like to start with thank yous, so if everyone can just bear with me, because I want to try to remember not only those surrounding my therapy and rehab but the extensive list of very important people throughout my 16-year career. Since my last press conference, my list of specialists has grown, so I would just like to extend a sincere thank you to all of those people who have had nothing but my best interests in mind. For that, I will always be grateful.
"Although I did not fully recover, in a sense it feels somewhat like failure. I will try and take the positives out of this experience and learn and grow from this difficult time. Jim McCrossin told me it shouldn't feel like failure, because of the state I was in 11 months ago and where I am now. As we all leave, this decision will allow me to live a normal life and hopefully, with time, leave few reminders of my injuries.
"I would also like to thank the Detroit Red Wings, and Mike and Marian Illitch, for giving me the opportunity to play in the National Hockey League; the Hartford Whalers and Carolina Hurricanes, for giving the chance to really establish myself as a player; and most importantly, the Philadelphia Flyers, and Mr. Snider and Bob Clarke, for their trust and their confidence in me when they brought me here and made me feel a part of something special. There is no place I was more comfortable playing than here in Philadelphia. I always took great pride in wearing the Flyers' colors, and being a captain for such a storied franchise.
"To the fans of Philadelphia – I am sorry I could not overcome this injury and for dragging this out as long as I did, but I did it all with the best of intentions and with the thought of returning home to play in front of 20,000 screaming fans. Thank you for your prayers and for your unwavering support.
"To my teammates, past and present – this is what, I believe, makes the team so hard to walk away from, because of the friendships we developed and the bonds we formed. Thank you.
"To my agent, Don Reynolds – not only an advisor but a longtime friend.
"A few other people, in closing, I want to thank Jim McCrossin. Last year was a trying year at the best of times, but Jim always found the time to address any of my concerns and help me overturn every stone possible in an attempt to make a full recovery. I will always appreciate your commitment.
"To my parents, my sisters and my brother – your support no matter what the circumstances allowed me to live out my childhood dream for 16 years. Thank you. To my wife Lisa and to my kids Corey, Kylie, Chayse and Cayden, the most important people in my life and the reason I can now walk away with no reservations. I feel comfortable knowing I have made the right decision."
Primeau, 34, recorded one goal and six assists for seven points and six penalty minutes in nine regular season games last season for the Flyers. He missed the final 73 games of the regular season and the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs due to a concussion sustained against the Canadiens in Montreal on October 25, 2005.
In six seasons with the Flyers (1999-2000 through 2005-06), Primeau registered 87 goals and 126 assists for 213 points and 414 penalty minutes in 312 regular season games. He posted 34 points (12G,22A) and 63 penalty minutes in 58 playoff games with the Flyers. He was named the 13th captain in Flyers history on October 23, 2001. Primeau scored the game-winning goal at 12:01 of the fifth overtime period to give the Flyers a 2-1 win at Pittsburgh in Game Four of the 2000 Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 4, 2000, ending the longest game in modern NHL history.
Primeau was acquired by the Flyers, along with a fifth round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Rod Brind'Amour, Jean-Marc Pelletier and a second round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft on January 23, 2000.
In 15 career seasons in the NHL (1990-91 through 2005-06) with the Detroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers, Carolina and the Flyers, Primeau recorded 266 goals and 353 assists for 619 points and 1,541 penalty minutes in 909 regular season games. He posted 57 points (18G,39A) and 213 penalty minutes in 128 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, including 16 points (9G,7A) recorded during the 2004 Playoffs as the Flyers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. He was a member of the Canadian National Team at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games and appeared in two NHL All-Star Games (1999 and 2004).