Capitals forward Carl Hagelin announces his retirement from the NHL

In April, Carl Hagelin wasn’t ready to give up ice hockey. Though he hasn’t played since March 2022 after sustaining a serious eye injury in practice and later undergoing hip surgery, the Capitals forward remained optimistic he could one day resume his NHL career.

On Wednesday, however, Hagelin announced his retirement from the NHL, citing the lingering effects of his eye injury.

“It’s been a great ride, but this is where it ends,” Hagelin wrote on Instagram. “Unfortunately, my eye injury is too severe to continue playing the game I love.”

Hagelin sustained the eye injury in training when a stick went through his visor and hit him square in the left eye. Doctors initially thought they might have to remove Hagelin’s eye, but it was saved after several surgeries, which left his pupil unable to dilate and his vision only partially in that eye.

Hagelin recovered enough to join the Capitals for informal skating last summer, but Washington announced on the first day of training camp that Hagelin was out with a lower-body injury. He underwent hip surgery in October and was still hoping to resume his career last April.

“My goal is to play again,” said Hagelin at the time. “But for that my hips have to feel good. It kind of comes down to that. I have to have two and a half really good months on the ice… and then when it feels good, I want to play in the NHL again.”

Drafted in the sixth round of the 2007 draft by the New York Rangers, Hagelin played four seasons at the University of Michigan before signing with the Rangers in April 2011. In June 2015, he was traded to Anaheim and again, this time to Pittsburgh. in January 2016. He won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017.

Hagelin was traded twice more in the 2018-19 season, first moving from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles in November and then being traded from the Kings to the Capitals in February, which would become his final NHL team. From February 2019 to March 2022, he played 187 games in Washington, scoring 20 goals and scoring 66 points in total.

“I am extremely grateful for all the memories that ice hockey has given me and I have enjoyed every single day of it,” Hagelin wrote. “I will miss going into battle [with] Every day I will miss the ups and downs of a season with my teammates.

“Nothing excites me more than stepping on the ice in front of 20,000 passionate fans. … I want to thank my family, my wife and my children for all their support. You made it possible for me to realize my dream.” Capitals forward Carl Hagelin announces his retirement from the NHL

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