Brian Rolston, a veteran forward and former captain of the Minnesota Wild, announced his retirement from the National Hockey League on Tuesday. The 40-year-old Flint, Mich. native played in 1,256 games in the league and tallied 761 points.
Rolston played some of his best hockey in Minnesota. The Wild acquired Rolston in the summer of 2004, but due to the lockout, the 6-foot 2-inch 215 pound utility forward had to wait until the start of the ’05-’06 season to make his debut in St. Paul. Once the skates were laced and Rolston pulled on a Wild sweater, he instantly gained the affections of Minnesota’s hockey-crazy fan base.
An all-around stand up guy, Rolston fit right in with the hockey scene in Minnesota. He was a charismatic and even-keeled captain during the ’06-’07 season, leading the team back to the playoffs after missing out the previous year.
More importantly, Rolston was a three-time 30 goal scorer in three seasons with the Wild. He was also selected to the ’06-’07 NHL All Star Game, among other career accolades.
While Minnesota fans have many fond memories of Rolston, few could forget his legendary slap-shot. The thunderous shots he clapped from the high slot struck fear into goaltenders’ and shot blockers’ hearts. Wild fans will fondly recall the shot that sent Jean-Sebastian Giguere into turtle-mode.
Or the penalty shot on Roberto Luongo.
Or the rocket past Chris Osgood.
Or, maybe, for making Alex Burrows say uncle.
In announcing his retirement Tuesday, Rolston was humble and appreciative.
“Getting the chance to play the game I love for 17 years has truly been a dream come true,” Rolston said, according to CBS Sports. “My career has taken me to many great places where I had the privilege to play with some exceptional teammates and in the best league in the world. The memories of all my experiences will certainly stick with me for the rest of my life. I am grateful for the overwhelming support of my friends, family and fans throughout my career.”
Rolston won a Stanley Cup his rookie year with the New Jersey Devils, had a stint with the Colorado Avalanche, a tenure with the Boston Bruins, a brilliant stretch with the Wild, and later in his career made returns to both New Jersey and Boston, plus minimal time with the New York Islanders.
Thanks for the good times, Rolston, and enjoy retirement.