Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski officially announced his retirement from hockey at a press conference this morning at Joe Louis Arena. Word leaked out earlier this week that Rafalski had decided to call it a career after 11 seasons in the NHL, and he confirmed the news at Wednesday's press conference.
With many of his teammates in attendance, Rafalski explained his decision to retire. He said that the decision was made two months ago with his wife, but he didn't tell his teammates until earlier this week. Rafalski didn't want to be a distraction in the final months of the season, so he kept the decision secret until this week.
Part of the reason why he decided to hang up his skates is because he wants to serve his family and others. He noted that there are more important things than money, and with a son going into high school, that was a big factor.
Rafalski called the opportunity to play for the Red Wings once in a lifetime and applauded the quality of the organization. He mentioned that the Red Wings have never had issues with filling holes, so he doesn't think they will have any problems replacing him.
Rafalski said that the 2010-11 season was "probably the most challenging season of my career, physically, mentally, emotionally." While he is only 37 years old, injuries caught up to him and ultimately played a big role in his decision to retire.
The Dearborn native will finish with three career Stanley Cup rings, five Stanley Cup final appearances, two silver medals for playing for the United States in the Olympics and a total of 79 goals and 436 assists. I'd say that's a pretty good career.