Brent Seabrook announces his hockey career is over

After 15 NHL seasons and over 1,200 games, injuries forced Seabrook to step away from hockey.

Another vital piece from the best stretch of Blackhawks hockey in franchise history has reached the end of his career.

Citing numerous injuries and operations, defenseman Brent Seabrook announced on Friday that his hockey-playing days are done.

Here’s part of Seabrook’s statement that was released by the team:

“I am so proud to have played my entire 15-year National Hockey League career in Chicago with the Blackhawks. It was an honor to play the game that I love, with teammates I love, in front of fans I love, in a city that my family and I have grown to love. After several surgeries, countless hours of rehab and training to get back on the ice at the level of my expectations, it will not be possible for me to continue playing hockey. This is what is best for me and my family. The love and support of my wife, Dayna, and my kids, Carter, Kenzie and Dylan has meant everything to me. My parents, Gary and Suzanne, and my brother Keith, have been behind me every step of the way and are my foundation.

To the great fans of the Chicago Blackhawks, thank you. I sacrificed everything for this team in our quest to lift three Stanley Cups and gave it everything I had for you. I couldn’t have asked for a better fan base to play for. You, more than anyone, kept me honest and always pushed me to be better - while also cheering me as your All-Star and Champion. Lifting the Stanley Cup in 2015 in front of all the fans at the United Center will be a memory I’ll never forget. You have truly made Chicago a second home. My family and I will be forever grateful for your love and support and I look forward to always having a special connection with you the fans. I will always be a Blackhawk.”

The end of the statement included comments from team physician Dr. Michael Terry, saying that the recovery process from three surgeries Seabrook underwent last year did not “work well enough for him to live his life an athlete.”

Seabrook joined the Blackhawks organization as a first-round pick (14th overall) in the 2003 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut on Oct. 5, 2005 in a 5-3 loss to the Ducks. Seabrook would play 1,114 regular season games — all for Chicago — while tallying 103 goals and 361 assists.

But it was in the postseason where Seabrook authored his most legendary chapters. He played in 123 Stanley Cup Playoff games, scoring 20 goals with 39 assists while averaging 24:52 of ice time. He scored a trio of overtime goals in the playoffs, most notably the series-winner against the hated Red Wings in Game 7 of the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals:

His contributions to the franchise went lightyears beyond that one goal, but it’s difficult to overstate the weight that goal still carries:

The overtime goals, the endless minutes skated, the three Stanley Cups won: Seabrook’s time in Chicago deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as virtually any other defenseman that’s ever worn the Blackhawks’ colors. His skills were part of the unbreakable foundation that Chicago built in the mid-2000s, setting the stage for the unfathomable heights reached during the 2010s.