‘With great regret,’ Jets’ Clitsome retires due to back injury

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Sad news out of Winnipeg this morning, as 31-year-old d-man Grant Clitsome has been forced to retire due to a serious back injury.

“It’s tough when something unexpected, and out of your control, suddenly ends your career,” Clitsome said in a release. “Despite the circumstances, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to fulfill my childhood dream and play in the NHL.

“I am also very grateful for all the great people that I have met, and all the friendships that I have made playing hockey.”

A seven-year veteran with over 200 games on his resume, Clitsome broke into the NHL with Columbus and was scooped off waivers by the Jets four years ago.

He parlayed that opportunity into a nice payday, scoring a three-year, $6.2 million deal in 2013. He was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Clitsome underwent back surgery in January of 2015 and hadn’t played since. At the time of the procedure, Jets head coach Paul Maurice described Clitsome’s health as a “very difficult situation,” but said the organization was hopeful he could return to play

Unfortunately for Clitsome, that never happened — but he did appear in over 100 games for Winnipeg, and seemed to cherish the opportunity.

“It truly was a special place to play,” he said. “I’m proud to retire as a Jet.”