In what was probably the shortest retirement speech in NHL history, Rod Brind`Amour announced his decision to stop playing hockey for a living on Wednesday afternoon at the RBC. Never once using the word "retirement" in his speech, the warrior who helped win a Stanley Cup Championship for the Carolina Hurricanes franchise said it was time to step down.
Brind`Amour told a standing room only crowd in the media room that a conversation with general manager Jim Rutherford that morning sealed the deal for him and he was "at peace" with his decision.
The former captain said that it was tough because he felt he could still play, but the team was moving in a different direction. Even so, Rutherford asked him to "be apart of it". Bottom line, he wanted to stay here, a place he now calls "home". He could not imagine playing anywhere else.
Rutherford confirmed in a phone conference call after the retirement announcement that the club bought the player out, and also will pay him a salary regarding his new position with his team "in the front office." While the cap number does not change, (not that it matters for the team this season), the Hurricanes will save $2 million this coming year on their budget.
The buyout agreement calls for two-thirds of the salary amount to be paid over a two year period. With Brind'Amour set to earn $3 million, that means the team will pay him $1 million this coming season and $1 million in 2011-12.
When asked if the savings would be used to possibly sign another player, Rutherford replied, "if something comes along that makes sense."
Brind'Amour was acquired during the 1999-2000 season in a trade which sent then Carolina captain Keith Primeau to Philadelphia. The former Flyer joked that during his first press conference in that very room, he was thinking to himself, "I'm out of here as soon as my contract is up."
But he ended up falling in love with Raleigh, North Carolina as well as the Hurricane fans who came to cherish him.
Originally a first round draft pick by St. Louis, (ninth overall), he finishes 16th in NHL history with 1,484 games played, 44th in assists, (732), 46th in points, (1,184), and 54th in goals, (452). He also played in 159 NHL Playoff games and knocked in 51 goals along with 60 assists for a total of 111 points in the postseason.
The faceoff king is also the career points leader for the franchise. Since playing for Carolina he tallied 473 points in 694 games played.
Throughout all the ups and downs in his career, he will most be remembered for hoisting the Stanley Cup over his head on RBC ice and stomping his feet in a career defining victory celebration. Certainly most, if not all of the almost 19,000 people in attendance that night, will never forget it.
Canes Country wishes a hearty congratulations to Rod Brind`Amour for an outstanding, Hall of Fame worthy career. But the journey is not ending, there's just a new fork in the road.
If you missed the video of the press conference, check it below.