New York (AFP) – Rick Nash, a two-time Olympic ice hockey champion for Canada, retired from the NHL on Friday, forced to end his career after 15 seasons due to concussion-related issues.
The 34-year-old left wing from suburban Toronto, the top 2002 NHL Draft selection by Columbus, spent nine seasons with the Blue Jackets and most of six more with the New York Rangers before playing his final 11 games with Boston last season.
He was with the Bruins last March when he was struck in the head by Tampa Bay’s Cedric Paquette, the last of several concussions Nash suffered in his career, including one that forced him out for 17 games in the 2013-14 campaign.
“Due to unresolved issues/symptoms from the concussion sustained last March, Rick Nash will be forced to retire from the game of hockey,” said a statement from Top Shelf Hockey, Nash’s agents.
“Under the advice of his medical team, the risk of further brain injury is far too great if Rick returns to play.
“Rick would like to thank everyone who has supported him during this difficult period.”
Nash, who also played for Swiss side Davos during NHL lockouts in 2004-05 and 2012-13, helped Canada capture Olympic gold at the 2010 Vancouver and 2014 Sochi Winter Games as well as a world title in 2007.
Nash finished with 437 goals and 368 assists in 1,060 NHL games as well as 18 goals and 28 assists in 89 playoff contests.
After last season, Nash ranked third among active NHL goal scorers, trailing only Russian star Alex Ovechkin of the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals and Patrick Marleau of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Nash remains the all-time Blue Jackets leader with 289 goals, 258 assists and 674 games played and won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal scorer with 41 in the 2003-04 season.