It was bound to happen eventually but that doesn't make it any easier. Following a 16-year NHL career that spans across five NHL teams (including a Grover Cleveland-style stint with Minnesota), Andrew Brunette has officially retired.
However that doesn't mean Brunette is going anywhere.
The newly retired forward, who in 2003 scored arguably the biggest goal in Minnesota Wild history against Colorado in overtime during Game 7 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals, will join the Wild front office as a hockey ops adviser. From Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
(Brunette) will assist GM Chuck Fletcher in all aspects of the team’s hockey operations including scouting, free-agent signings and helping with the evaluation and development of prospects at all levels of the organization.Andrew played six seasons with Minnesota and was brought back in a move that former Wild GM Doug Risebrough stated was correcting his biggest mistake. After his second stint, he spent last season with the Chicago Blackhawks where he scored 27 points (12G-17A) in 78 games.
"I talked to a couple teams [about playing], but I came to the decision my heart was in Minnesota," Brunette said by phone. "It just made sense to be here."
Brunette said the role will be defined as it goes along. He joins Darby Hendrickson, Brad Bombardir and Wes Walz as former Wild players that have been hired during the Fletcher regime.
Now that Brunette has retired, I kind of hope the Wild will retire #17,615 in his honor.