For those of who you don’t know, Kris Versteeg is a 33 year old AHL player who announced last week that he was leaving North American Ice Hockey. Kris was announced as the Rockford IceHogs captain for at the beginning of the season, but from his exit interview it was clear that his heart was not in it this year.
“Looking down I could see it in their eyes and I could see everything they were putting into it. I’m not able to match that and I am not able to put that same focus and intensity into my game and so it was hard for me to play at the level I needed to. It was hard to watch kids sit out for me.”
In my opinion it is one of the most humble ways to retire. Kris knew that he wasn’t feeling it anymore, and he was blocking young guys who needed to see the ice.
Whats Kris going to do now? He has joined his younger brother, Mitch, in Slovakia. If you haven’t seen the logo for HK Nitra, look it up its amazing. Kris wants to finish out his career representing Canada at the Spengler Cup. Its pretty obvious, but I feel like its more honorable to Canadian players to represent their country more so than other countries.
Here is his full exit interview.
Kris was drafted 134th overall by the Boston Bruins in 2004. He played for the Chicago Blackhawks, where he won two Stanley Cups. He also played for the Maple Leafs, Flyers, Panthers, Hurricanes, Kings, Flames, and Oilers. He also played for my favorite minor league team of all time, the Norfolk Admirals. Kris retires with 358 points in 643 NHL games. He also put up 48 points in 93 playoff games.
What a career. Best of luck in Europe, and good luck at the Spengler Cup. Happy Retirement, Kris!