Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw announced his retirement Monday morning after doctors recommended he leave the game after suffering several concussions.
“There comes a time when every athlete needs to realize when their health is a priority and a future with their family is what is most important,” Shaw said in a statement. “That point for me is now. After several concussions, doctors have strongly recommended I stop playing the game that I love. For once in my life, I am going to listen.”
Shaw suffered his latest concussion on Feb. 9 against the Stars, when Stars defenseman Joel Hanley’s elbow caught his face during the second period. Shaw was put on injured reserve at the time.
“Andrew suffered another concussion on Feb. 9 against the Dallas Stars,” Hawks team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement. “Though he has recovered, given the potential long-term consequences of repetitive concussions, we have advised him to discontinue his career as a professional hockey player.”
Shaw finishes with 247 points in 544 career regular-season games with the Hawks and Canadiens, plus 35 points in 72 postseason games including the Hawks’ Stanley Cup runs in 2013 and 2015.
“I am extremely proud of what I accomplished in my career, and I want to make it clear; I would not change anything about it,” Shaw said. “I won two Stanley Cups, made lifelong friends — and some enemies, too — and will cherish those memories for the rest of my life.”
Nicknamed the “Mutt” for his gritty, blue-collar personality and playing style, Shaw was a fan favorite and valuable complementary player during the later portion of the Hawks’ championship era.
“Throughout his 10-year career with the Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens, Andrew was always willing to lay his body on the line and put his teammates before himself,” Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said. “He epitomized energy, determination, grit, and toughness and was a player his teammates loved to play with, but his opponents hated to play against. …
“Though it is unfortunate Andrew’s playing career is over, I admire him for making this difficult decision and putting his family and his well-being first.”
Shaw was feeling confident in January as he prepared to return to the ice after a 14-month concussion-related layoff.
“I can’t play scared. If I play scared, I’m just going to end up putting myself in vulnerable positions,” he said then. “I worked with [Chicago-based skills coach] Brian Keane on scanning and making sure I know where everybody is and making sure my head’s up and just being more confident with the puck. That’s been going pretty well for me.”
But his 2021 season lasted only 14 games before the February concussion. His 2019-20 season had lasted only 26 games before a different season-ending concussion came on Nov. 30, 2019.