Concussion issues force Rick Nash to retire from NHL

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Rick Nash’s hockey career is unfortunately coming to an end and not on his own terms. After 15 years and 1,060 NHL games, the longtime forward announced his retirement in a statement through his agent on Friday morning,

From Joe Resnick of Top Shelf Sports Management Inc, via Darren Dreger:

Due to unresolved issues/symptons from the concussion sustained last March, Rick Nash will be forced to retire from the game of hockey. Under the advice of his medical team, the risk of further brain injury is far too great if Rick returns to play. Rick would like to thank everyone who has supported him during this difficult time period.

When Nash’s contract expired after last season, he announced in late June that he would not be signing during free agency and would take his time deciding if he would play again. The concussion he suffered after a trade to the Boston Bruins was still giving him issues, and while a number of teams checked in on him once the 2018-19 season got under way, there were no signs of a comeback.

Nash, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 NHL Draft, finishes his career with 437 goals and 805 points. He was a six-time All-Star, won a Rocket Richard Trophy, two Olympic gold medals, gold at the World Championships, hit the 20-goal mark in all but two of his 15 seasons and reached 40 three times.

He also scored one of the more memorable goals of this era back in 2008:

Nash’s departure from Columbus still leaves mixed feelings, he wasn’t greeted too warmly when he returned as a New York Ranger during the 2015 All-Star Game, but he’s one of the Blue Jackets’ greatest players ever and still holds a number of franchise records like goals, points and power play goals.

There’s no question that No. 61 should someday hang from the Nationwide Arena rafters, and despite the feelings about Nash’s departure, we’ve seen that time can heal wounds with hockey fans.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.