“King Henrik of Sweden”. Legendary goalkeeper Lundqvist retires
Another outstanding goalkeeper left hockey today. Following ex-Nashville goalkeeper Pekka Rinne, who announced his retirement just over a month ago , the decision to hang skates was made by the legendary Henrik Lundqvist , who spent 15 years with the New York Rangers.
Beloved by the fans of the blue-shirts, the Swedish goal-keeper during his time in Manhattan set a very high bar, which will certainly not be conquered by the future goalkeepers of the team for a long time. Henrik leads the Rangers in regular season wins (459) and playoffs (61), clean sheets (74), saves (27,076), ice time and points (28 assists). Lundqvist also became the first goalkeeper in NHL history to win 30 or more victories in each of the first seven seasons, and the fastest to reach 400 wins. In 2012, the Swede became the owner of Vezina and was named the Rangers’ most valuable player for nine seasons.
“The time has come. I devoted the last 30 years of my life to hockey … But now it’s time to leave the game that I love and start a new chapter.
The future excites me. Over the years, I have met so many wonderful people who will guide and inspire me on my new journey.
There are many things I love about this game, from the excitement I experienced in my first training session as an eight-year-old to the excitement every time I went out on the ice for 15 years in the best city in the world. I am incredibly grateful to hockey for everything that he brought into my life and what he taught. I will never forget these lessons.
Thanks to all the coaches and players who have helped me throughout my career. Thanks to Swedish ice hockey! I am very proud to have grown up and played in Sweden and then represented my side on the world stage.
Thanks to the Rangers and New York. I was born a Swede, but thanks to you I will always feel like a New Yorker.
Thanks to the NHL. This league is everything I dreamed of and more.
Finally, thanks to hockey and their fans! You gave the purpose of my life, and I enjoyed every minute of it! Thank you all, ”Henrik said in a statement on his official Twitter page.
Received the nickname “King Henrik” in his debut season in the NHL
Lundqvist’s story is a prime example of how late picking is not a hindrance to a great career. At the 2000 fair – the same one where another goalkeeper Rick Dipietro left under the first number in the Islanders – Henrik waited until the seventh round and became only 205th drafted player.
The Swede reached the NHL five years later. During this time, he managed to become the main goalkeeper in Frölund, and he came to New York as the best goalkeeper and player in the Swedish League.
In his first season with the Rangers, Lundqvist helped the team end a seven-year drought without playoffs, instantly becoming a crowd favorite. Henrik earned a lot of rave reviews not only from fans, but also from journalists: for example, the famous New York Post author Larry Brooks in October 2005 named the goalkeeper “King Henrik of Sweden” – this nickname stuck to him for the rest of his career.
Following the results of the debut championship, Lundqvist was nominated for Vezina for the first time, but lost it to Mikke Kiprusoff .
Was more successful in the national team than in the club
This is, of course, more about team achievements. Even before moving to North America, Henrik twice – in 2003 and 2004 – became the silver medalist of the world championships, in the second case he was also awarded the title of the best goalkeeper of the tournament from the press. In 2006, Lundqvist achieved the first of two golds at the international level, winning the Turin Olympics with Tre Krunur. And in 2017, on the fifth attempt, he became the world champion.
But before joining the Triple Gold Club, he lacked the only necessary club trophy – the Stanley Cup. Together with the Rangers, Henrik came closest to him in 2014, but lost to Los Angeles in five games.
Rangers knew Henrik could have heart problems
The state of the vital life support organ of Lundqvist in New York was closely monitored from the very moment the Swede arrived at the club. Fortunately, until recently, during the best years of the legendary goalkeeper’s career, no surgery was required. Only after the Rangers bought out Henrik’s contract and moved to Washington, he had to go under the knife.
Even with the surgery, Lundqvist hoped to get back on the ice and even started light training. However, his health did not allow him to continue his career.
“At the beginning of the summer, my plan was to return. I started working in the gym again and even went out on the ice, but without contacts. But everything went wrong. Heavy loads provoked chest pains.
Hoped to be 100 percent ready by now. But I was told that the inflammation takes longer to recover, and I could go back with the medication, but it would take another year.
So I thought about it, talked to my close friends, family and wife Teresa. This year was probably even more difficult for her than it was for me. She is a very strong woman. It all came down to how much I wanted to force the return, what risk would I be willing to take? And I came to the conclusion that there would be too much unknown and too little reward for the risk ahead of me, ”Larry Brooks quotes Lundqvist.
The end of the playing career of the great Swede was not the most beautiful. The redemption of the Rangers contract, the one-year contract with Washington, during which Henrik did not play a single match and underwent a difficult operation, did not allow him to leave on a high note. However, health, of course, should come first, so the decision to hang the skates on a nail in such a situation was the only correct one.
Lundqvist has a new life ahead. Together with his family, he is going to return to New York, where the Rangers have already announced the decision to withdraw from circulation the 30th number, under which the legendary goalkeeper played.