Tkachuk to Retire
Keith Tkachuk announced Wednesday that he plans to retire following the 2009-10 season. Below is a recap of his interview with Fox Sports Midwest.
St. Louis Blues forward Keith Tkachuk tonight announced his retirement from the NHL, and shortly after the announcement he spoke to Fox Sports Midwest announcers John Kelly and Darren Pang during the 1st period of the Blues-Blackhawks telecast.
Excerpts from the interview with Tkachuk:
On the announcement: “It was an emotional day for me but we’ve decided these next two games will be my last two games. I’m going to retire after the season.”
On the decision process: “It’s tough to express how I felt but it was an easy decision. I think it’s time. I had a great run here in St. Louis. I think the one thing I’m most proud of is the fact that I’m going to retire as a Blue.”
On the difficulty of retiring: “It is difficult but it’s been a long run. I enjoyed my time and every team I played for.”
“I owe everything to the game of hockey.”
On injuries: “Hopefully everything goes well and I’ll be in the lineup Friday night against Anaheim, my last home game. It’s been a tough 2010 with injuries and the wear and tear is really getting to me. But I’m going to be in the lineup Friday night.”
On coming to the Blues: “Getting traded to a team like St. Louis at that point really extended my career.”
On telling the team before the game tonight: “It was an emotional roller coaster right before the game when I had to tell the guys. I think I ruined my reputation as being a hard guy in the locker room. I kind of broke down. It was very emotional. The toughest thing to do was to tell my teammates.”
On Friday’s final game in St. Louis: “We have a lot of friends and a lot of support in St. Louis. This is where we’re going to live the rest of our lives.”
On the Blues: “To our fans, thanks for everything. Trust the process of this organization. Someday we’ll win the Stanley Cup and I know I won’t have a jersey on but I’ll be a part of it. This is going to be a great process to watch our team grow. It’s going to happen.”
Tkachuk has played 1,200 games in 19 NHL seasons. The Blues announced that he’ll play his final in front of St. Louis fans for the final time on Friday vs. Anaheim, and after the game the team will pay tribute to his career. Friday’s game will be televised on Fox Sports Midwest.
It’s sad to see Walt go, but this was a decision most probably saw coming. The big man has had a rough season, suffering a severe mouth injury and suffering battle scars to his hand.
I personally can’t thank Tkachuk enough for his time in St. Louis as he has always been a class act off the ice and nothing but a professional in everything he does.
Best of luck Walt to your non-hockey days and here’s to hoping you stick around this organization in one capacity or another.