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Player Safety

George Parros joins NHL Department of Player Safety

Retired forward will help with disciplinary decisions

by Mike G. Morreale @MikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

George Parros has joined the NHL Department of Player Safety, the League announced Wednesday.

Parros, who played nine seasons in the NHL, was named director, player safety and will work from Las Vegas. He is part of the core group that includes Stephane Quintal, Patrick Burke, Damian Echevarrieta and Chris Pronger that handles disciplinary decisions within the department.

"It's an interesting opportunity to not only watch a lot of hockey and remain in the sport, but kind of affect what's going on in the sport in a way that things move forward," Parros told NHL.com. "You're trying educate the players, and the thing that best suits me for the job is that I've played the game for a long time and played as physical as anybody else, perhaps more so, and never once got fined or suspended.

"I feel that if anybody out there knows how to walk the line, it's me."

Parros, who retired from the NHL in December 2014, will attend the Rookie Orientation Program prior to the start of each season.

"I am very pleased that George is joining us and excited about what he will bring to our department," said Quintal, NHL senior vice president, player safety. "While he was widely known as a physical player, his coaches, teammates and opponents also knew him as a student of the game. He will add another unique perspective to our group, and the fact that he only recently retired means that he has a keen understanding of today's game."

Parros, 36, was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the eighth round (No. 222) of the 1999 NHL Draft. He had 18 goals, 36 points and 1,092 penalty minutes in 474 regular-season games with the Kings, Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks, Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens.

"We don't want to take any physicality out of the game, but at the same time you want to make sure players are walking that line that I walked and that's what interested me about the position," Parros said. "I don't want to take any physicality out of the game but certainly there are incidents that arise that can be preventable. So I do want to help educate the players, especially the young players entering the League. There's a way you can play the game within the lines and I think I certainly did that.

"I'll know what to look for and, hopefully, my experience will help lend a hand to the rest of the department."

The 6-foot-5, 224-pound forward played six seasons for Anaheim and was one of its most popular players. He won the Stanley Cup in 2007 and was respected by teammates and fans for his determined toughness.

"I think fans love the idea of a player sticking up for his teammates and creating some excitement in the game," Parros said. "I also made it a point to do a lot of community work; it was something I grew up with and thought was an important part to being a professional athlete. So I did a lot of community outreach, but I didn't just like to show up somewhere and put a smile on, I interacted quite a bit. I started a clothing line just for charity, cut my hair for charity and donated to Kids with Cancer. I also did the mustache shave."

Parros was well-known for his mustache. The Ducks team store even sold George Parros mustaches, with all proceeds going to charity.

"[The mustache] was the greatest marketing tool that happened by accident, but everyone identified with it and had a lot of fun with it over my career, so it became an identifying factor for me and it was a fun ride while it lasted," he said.

Parros played four seasons for Princeton University and was captain his senior year (2002-03). An economics major, he was named by The Sporting News as one of the sport's smartest athletes.

What's his message to any young player looking to make his mark in the NHL?

"I would advise them to just worry about their work ethic and the product they put on the ice, getting themselves in the best physical shape, and playing the game the best they can in order to let the hockey speak for itself," Parros said.

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