NHL goaltender Roberto Luongo has called it a career.
The Florida Panthers netminder sent a message on his Twitter account, saying he was taking his “talents to a South Beach retirement home.”
In a candid letter to fan posted on the NHL website, the 40-year-old netminder said that his play last season “wasn’t up to the standards I expect of myself on a nightly basis,” and he found himself “dreading” his off-season workouts, which were set to begin in mid-May.
“It’s not that I don’t love playing hockey anymore, but I had to listen to my body,” he wrote. “I’m at the point where my body was telling me it just needed a rest. It didn’t really want to get going.”
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Luongo played for 19 NHL seasons, including eight in Vancouver, where he enjoyed the greatest success of his career.
Luongo led the Canucks to the 2011 Stanley Cup final and backstopped Canada’s men’s hockey team to a gold medal at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Luongo won at least 30 games six times — and 40 or more twice.
He was traded from Vancouver to Florida — where he spent much of the early part of his career — in March 2014 after then-Canucks coach John Tortorella benched him for the Heritage Classic game at BC Place.
In his return to Vancouver after being traded to the Panthers, the team honoured the goaltender with a video tribute that was accompanied by a standing ovation by fans at Rogers Arena, who rained down the familiar “Loo” chant.
Luongo’s retirement will have salary cap implications for the Canucks, the team that signed him to his current 12-year contract. Thanks to a cap recapture penalty for such long-term contracts, the Canucks will face a $3-million penalty that will be applied to their salary cap for the next three seasons.
The Panthers will face a $1-million cap recapture penalty for the next three seasons.
— With files from the Canadian Press
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