Brian Rafalski, a defenseman for the Detroit Red Wings, announced Wednesday that he is retiring. After 11 seasons in the NHL and back and knee injuries last year, Rafalski decided to walk away from $6 million to spend time with his family.
The defenseman won 2 Stanley Cups during his tour with the NHL. Originally signed by the New Jersey Devils, Brian Rafalski helped win 2 Stanley Cups during his 7 seasons with the Devils and 1 Stanley Cup for the Red Wings during his last 4 seasons.
Not only has the defenseman won 3 Stanley Cups, but he’s also a 2 time Olympic Silver medalist. He was part of the U.S. Olympic hockey teams in 2002 and 2010 when they took the silver medal to Canada. In 2010, Rafalski was named Best Defenseman at the Olympics.
Although he had known for several months that he would be retiring, Rafalski decided not to tell his teammates until this week. While understanding the retirement, some of his teammates were surprised. Goaltender Jimmy Howard said that he was “shocked” when he received the news via text message. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said that he was glad Rafalski could leave on his own terms rather than being forced out of the game.
In the mean time, the Detroit Red Wings are still waiting on defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom to make his announcement as to whether he will play another NHL season with Detroit. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland says he goes to bed “crossing my fingers and toes every night” that the defenseman will play another season. If Lidstrom agrees to another season, it will certainly be a plus in the wake of losing Brian Rafalski.