I’m wiping the teardrops off my keyboard as I write this. Early this morning, the hockey media told us all the heartbreaking news that Blackhawks defenceman Brent Seabrook announced his retirement from the NHL. One half of one of the most dominant D pairings of the modern era, I’m grateful for Brent and the time we got to spend together, good times and bad.
“I gave it all I had”. What a guy. Everyone knows that eventually the sun sets on every career, but for a fan base that really did get to have it all for a good chunk of the early 2010s, watching the guys that brought you some of the best memories slowly begin to transition into retirement is tough. Three-time Stanley Cup Champion, 1,237 career games played across the regular season and playoffs, Olympic Gold Medalist, a cameo appearance in an episode of Chicago Fire, all-around good dude… What a resume. Alongside Duncan Keith, Seabrook became half of the only defensive pairing to play 1,000 games together, adding to the narrative that the Keith-Seabrook pairing was an absolute terror for opponents to see manning the blue line, and a hell of a joy to watch do their thing for as long as they did. The best ability is availability, and the Keith-Seabrook pair was AVAILABLE.
Flashback Time. Do you know where you were when Seabs put the team on his back in the 2013 Playoffs? I was in my living room in Waterloo, Ontario, hammering Keystone Lights with my Red Wings fan roommate. I couldn’t tell you where we ended up after that puck went in… big blur. After a devastating late whistle, negating the go-ahead goal for the Hawks late in the third, Seabrook decided in OT of Game 7 that he was over it, and he wanted to move onto the next one.
Game Seven. Overtime. West Semis. What a moment for the fans, the team, and for Brent. He wasn’t done either. He put another OT nail in the coffin in Game 4 of the Cup Finals en route to his second of three chances to hoist Lord Stanley.
“I gave it all I had”. I’ve quoted it once already, but damn it, that’s something I won’t doubt for a second. This man strapped ’em up 1,237 times and left everything he had out there for us for fifteen years because he’s a good goddamn guy that’s going to go down as one of the best to ever wear the Blackhawks jersey, and a part of one of the best defensive units the league has ever seen.
Brent, on behalf of every Blackhawks fan, young and old, thank you. Enjoy putting your feet up in retirement, my man.