Mark Recchi’s career in the NHL was one that saw him span parts of four decades playing from 1989 through 2011 ending it all with a Stanley Cup win with the Boston Bruins. Over that time, Recchi amassed 1,533 points and three Stanley Cup wins in all. Winning with the Bruins got him to feel comfortable enough to finally retire from the NHL and move on to a new part of his life: Figuring out what to do when you retire.
For a lot of players, they decide to get into coaching or head off to the hills to live the comfortable life of not having to suit up every night and put their bodies on the line to win it all. After 22 seasons in the NHL, getting completely out of the business would prove difficult for Recchi and sure enough, according to The Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont, he’s got his sights set on getting involved in player development.
The plucky right winger is leaving the player’s life behind and wants to begin work soon in a player personnel role with an NHL team.
“That’s what I’d really like to do,’’ said Recchi, just prior to heading to Kamloops, where he is part-owner of the Blazers in the Western Hockey League. “You see a lot of guys moving into that player development role now, working with kids, building relationships with the younger guys from the time they are drafted and so on . . . I think I’d really enjoy that.’’
Here in the Hub of Hockey, ex-defenseman Don Sweeney has cultivated that role as part of his duties in the Boston front office the last few years. In Pittsburgh, ex-Bruins forwards Tom Fitzgerald and the recently hired Bill Guerin have taken on similar tasks with the Penguins. Agent Rick Curran is now exploring the same kind of opportunities for Recchi, who in June won the Stanley Cup for a third time after entering the league with the Penguins in 1988-89.
Given Recchi’s roles on past teams like Boston and with Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta as well you could say he’s already got a solid résumé helping young players get acclimated to the life in the NHL as it is. Helping the Hurricanes win the Cup in 2006 with a young team centered around Cam Ward and Eric Staal and now helping young Bruins in 2010 like Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand it’s a pretty solid record for Recchi to have.
Getting young guys acclimated to playing in the NHL can be a tough job. Some guys can let the fame and success get to their heads and their careers will suffer for it long term. Following Mark Recchi’s lead would be a great way for any player to stay in the NHL for a long time and do it playing great hockey as well. After all, Recchi is destined for a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame and goes down as one of the all-time great guys in hockey. For any player wanting to follow his example, it’d be a step in the right direction.