Incredibly sad news broke today, as it appears that a shot to the face during the 2010 playoffs ended Ian Laperriere’s career.
NHL.com shares the story that doctors are asking Laperriere to retire because of post-concussion syndrome and nerve damage to his right eye.
A Pittsburgh neurologist on Friday confirmed a Philadelphia doctor’s opinion that Laperriere should retire rather than risk permanent damage to his eye.
“When I get the lights going and there is movement around me, it gets worse and worse and I feel like I’m not myself,” Laperriere told the Courier-Post. “That’s what scares me and that’s why I can’t play. They don’t want me to get hit again and I don’t want to get hit. If I feel this bad right now, how will I feel on my next hit? If I’m not sharp out there, especially with my game, I’m going to get killed.”
Laperriere, 36, became a fan favorite in his first — and apparently only — season in Philadelphia for his physical play and tenacity. He was third on the team with 171 hits and led the club’s forwards with 74 blocked shots, including blocking another shot with his face earlier in the season against Buffalo, but he didn’t miss any time.
Playing all 82 games last season, the 15-year veteran had 3 goals, 20 points and 162 penalty minutes, the 10th-highest total in the League.
It’s a real shame that this might be it for Lappy, but he’ll leave the game as a fan favorite and character guy. His rugged style of play made him endearing to hockey fans, but it also makes the concept of him trying to win board battles or fights in front of the net pretty hard to imagine.
Hopefully Laperriere will be able to feel decent off the ice, if nothing else. It’s wise that he avoids future damage, but his last injury was brutal enough that you have to wonder how much of an impact it will have on his life. Good luck to Laperriere as he moves on while dealing with a serious brain injury.