5 NHL Career-ending Injuries

Injuries are a part of life for all professional athletes. They are constantly pushing their bodies to their limits and beyond the human norm. Working at such an intense level is hard on the body and makes injuries more likely. Throw the full-contact nature of most major sports into the mix and it’s no surprise that most players experience one or two serious injuries over the course of their careers, or deal with physical consequences long after their retirements.

Despite major changes that have been made in the NHL over the last two decades, hockey is still seen as an incredibly vicious sport. The perception of violence, coupled with the fact that it’s “a full-contact sport with the longest season of any major North American sport,” means that people expect it to be full of horrible player injuries. The reality isn’t quite so clear-cut.

Hockey players actually experience far fewer injuries than NFL and MLB players and spend the least amount of time on the injury list when we consider the players in all of the other major professional sports leagues. Of course, NHL players do still get injured, but so does everyone else.

While the research has shown that the most common injuries for NHL players are to the knee, shoulder, hand, and ankle, very serious injuries do still occur. All the pads and helmets do help to protect the players a lot but hitting your head or back on the ice can still be devastating. However, in hockey, more often than not, it is a series of injuries rather than a single serious one that ends a career.

In this article, we’ll look at five serious injuries that have ended a player’s career in the NHL.

Cam Neely, Boston Bruins

Cam Neely’s career record shows just how much a series of injuries can derail a player’s career before forcing them to quit. He was drafted 9th overall in 1983, but his first 3 seasons with the Vancouver Canucks were fairly unremarkable. Once he was transferred to the Boston Bruins, he became a total powerhouse.

In his first five seasons with the Bruins, he played 363 games and scored 221 times, recording a plus-102. He was set to be the top power forward in the game. Then, during the 1990-91 season, he suffered a pair of knee injuries. He continued to play with the Bruins for another five seasons but was never quite the same. He retired early due to hip problems that had been caused by his earlier knee injuries.

Vladimir Konstantinov, Detroit Red Wings

Not all injuries happen on the ice. Just like the rest of us, hockey players are at risk of accidents in their daily lives. Vladimir Konstantinov played defense and specialized in an aggressive style of hockey that kept his opponents distracted and away from the goal. He had an essential role in the Detroit Red Wings’ Stanley Cup-winning season in 1997.

Following the Stanley Cup win, Konstantinovturned 30 and was at the peak of his career. He was set to be a star for the next few years and could have furthered the Red Wings’ dynasty. Sadly, after celebrating the win with a friend and teammate, the limo he was in struck a tree and he was paralyzed.

Mike Bossy, New York Islanders

Mike Bossy only played in 750 games during his career, but in that time, he managed to score a staggering 1,126 points. He was one of the most dominant players of his era. While playing for the New York Islanders in the 1980s, he led them to four Stanley Cups wins. A serious back injury forced Bossy to retire in 1988 and plagued him for the rest of his life.

Bobby Orr, Boston Bruins

Bobby Orr is a player whose name ranks with Wayne Gretzky among the hockey greats. He perhaps could have even rivaled Gretzky if his career hadn’t been cut so short. He won the Hart Memorial Trophy three times and most of hockey’s other major honors as well. Much like Neely, Orr suffered from a series of knee injuries. By the 1977-78 season, he had had a dozen surgeries on his knees and could barely even walk, let alone skate.

Steve Moore, Colorado Avalanche

Steve Moore is one player who never got a chance to show just what he could do. Moore only had the chance to play in three seasons and he was just beginning to make a place for himself on the team.

His career was injured when he was blindsided by Todd Bertuzzi in retaliation for an earlier issue. The attack caused a concussion and fractured neck and forced the NHL to reevaluate how on-ice incidents were handled.

Golam Muktadir is a passionate sports fan and a dedicated movie buff. He has been writing about both topics for over a decade and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with his readers. Muktadir has a degree in journalism and has written for several well-known publications, including Surprise Sports and Surprise Movies.


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