Roughly a month and a half away from the 10-year anniversary of his first NHL game, Ryan Whitney announced that he’s decided to hang up his skates.
“Today I am retiring from the game of hockey,” he said in a statement. “It’s impossible to put into words how much I love this sport. My mind has been flooded with so many amazing memories all day. From early morning rides to the rink with my dad, to having the privilege of representing my country in the Olympic Games, it truly has been a wonderful journey.
“Unfortunately my body broke down on me sooner than I had hoped. I’m 32 years old and you’re likely to find stronger and more stable ankles and feet on the residents at your local nursing home.
“I will miss my teammates and bring around the locker room the most. My best friends are guys I played this game with. I share so many different memories with all of them that span over 20 years. That is what makes hockey so special.
“It is remarkable how quickly it went by. There were many ups and obviously plenty of downs, but I wouldn’t change a thing because it all made me into the person I am today. I dreamt of playing in the NHL my entire life and I’m forever thankful to everyone who helped make my dreams come true.”
Whitney was taken with the fifth overall pick of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins and early in his career he was a great offensive defenseman. He tied sixth among blueliners in points with 59 in his 2006-07 sophomore season. He followed that up with a 40-point campaign in 2007-08, but that would be his last full season with the Penguins.
Pittsburgh traded him to Anaheim in February 2009 in exchange for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi. Just over a year later, the Ducks sent him to Edmonton along with a sixth round pick in exchange for Lubomir Visnovsky.
It wasn’t long after that second trade that his career started to unravel. From 2010-11 through 2013-14 he only participated in 127 NHL games. Last season he played primarily in the KHL.
At the end of the day, he’s retiring after scoring 50 goals and 259 points in 481 contests.