Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw Announces NHL Retirement Because of Concussions

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2021

Chicago Blackhawks right wing Andrew Shaw warms up before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Chicago, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw announced his retirement from the NHL on Monday after suffering several concussions during his career.

"I want people to know that I'm OK," Shaw told ESPN's Emily Kaplan. "I'm in a good place. But I'm going to miss it; I'm going to miss it like crazy still."

Shaw, 29, spent seven seasons with the Blackhawks and three with the Montreal Canadiens after being taken No. 139 overall in the 2011 NHL draft. He recorded 247 points (116 goals, 131 assists) during his career but regularly missed stretches of time because of concussions.

A concussion suffered during the 2019-20 season cost him more than a year of action. His latest concussion came in February during a game against the Dallas Stars. 

"I know I only played 14 games [this season], but to work your way back, when people are telling you that you should be done, and people are doubting you could make it back, it was worth it," Shaw said. "I took my time, I made sure I was feeling 100 percent. And then to score a few goals at the UC [United Center] again, it was worth it. I wouldn't change it at all."

Advances in sports medicine have increased the knowledge among athletes regarding the long-term impact of concussions. Several hockey players have been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease that researchers have linked to repetitive long-term brain injuries. Players with repeated history of concussions are known to be at a greater risk of developing CTE. 

Shaw said that, despite wanting to continue his career, he knows the best move for his long-term health is to walk away.