Veteran forward Ryan Callahan is officially hanging up his skates. The former Lightning player, who didn’t play last season because of a career-ending back issue, made his retirement official via a Twitter post Wednesday.
“Reflecting on my career, it’s hard to wrap my head around how lucky and grateful I am for being able to live out my childhood dream for 13 amazing years,” Callahan, 35, wrote.
In June 2019, Callahan was placed on long-term injured reserve by the Lightning for the final year of his contract. He had had lingering back issues for many seasons, but they became more serious in 2018-19. After the season, doctors advised him to no longer play due to a degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, the team said then.
“It was literally taking it day-by-day, seeing how I felt when I woke up,” Callahan said at the time. “If it’s a game day, you just try to keep it loose as possible and hope nothing happens. Sometimes it did.”
Later that summer, the Lightning traded him to the Senators for goalie Mike Condon to get him off long-term injured reserve and create greater salary cap space.
In the fall, he started working at the NHL Network as an analyst.
Callahan spent 13 years in the league, racking up 186 goals and 200 assists in 757 games. His best seasons came with the Rangers in 2011-12 with 54 points (29 goals) and the Lightning in 2014-15 with 54 points (24 goals). He never won the Stanley Cup.
Callahan spent eight seasons with the Rangers — including a three-year stint as captain — before coming to Tampa Bay in 2014 in the Marty St. Louis trade.
“I can honestly say I left it all on the ice and have zero regrets,” Callahan wrote on Twitter. “Thanks to the game of hockey for all the unforgettable memories and lifelong friends I have made along the way! This is bye to the game I love for now, but I’m sure our paths will cross again in the near future.”
Here’s how Twitter reacted to the news: