Keith Tkachuk to Retire

Keith Tkachuk is going to call it quits at the end of this NHL season. After 19 seasons in the National Hockey League, Tkachuk is calling the 2009-2010 season his last.

“I have been privileged to have a long career in this terrific league and play for first class organizations,” Tkachuk said. “My thanks go out to my current and former teammates, the St. Louis Blues, Phoenix Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets and Atlanta Thrashers organizations and most of all to my parents, my wife, Chantal, my kids, Matthew, Braeden and Taryn, along with all of my other family members for all of the support they have given me throughout my career.”

“Keith is a true warrior who had an excellent career, and I was hoping this day would never come,” said John Davidson, the Blues president of hockey operations. “The NHL is losing an individual who gave a lot of time and dedication to the game and I wish him and his family a happy retirement and the best of luck.”

Tkachuk was a divisive player at times in terms of what many fans thought of him. Drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, Tkachuk piled up 1,063 points (538 goals, 525 assists) in 1,200 games. He was an agitator, for the most part, but also boasted an underrated set of hands that made him a threat in front of the net.

Unfortunately, Tkachuk’s career was also peppered with contract disputes and disciplinary issues. He was stripped of his captaincy in Winnipeg at the start of the 1995-1996 NHL season after a contract dispute, but he was eventually restored to the post at the start of the following season when the Jets moved to Phoenix.

Tkachuk also struggled with injuries after being traded to the St. Louis Blues in 2001 and he failed his physical with the team after showing up to camp overweight at the start of the 2005-2006 season.

Even so, Tkachuk’s impact on the game was a significant one. While I don’t think most people would consider him to be a Hall of Fame-ready player, Tkachuk was largely a role player who had the ability to get nasty when the job required it of him. He could also put the puck in the net, having scored at least 20 goals in his first 12 season in the NHL.

Posted by Jordan Richardson.

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