The 36-year-old goalkeeper, who won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015, took an indefinite leave of absence from the New Jersey Devils for personal reasons on Friday after losing five consecutive practices during camp.
“I was fortunate to have a long career playing professional hockey for a living,” said Crawford. “I wanted to continue my career, but I believe that I gave everything I could for the hockey game and decided that it is time to retire. I would like to thank the New Jersey Devils organization for understanding and supporting my decision. I would like to thank the Chicago Blackhawks organization. for giving me a chance to live my childhood dream. “
Crawford agreed to a two-year, $ 7.8 million contract with Devils on October 11, after spending 13 seasons with the 2005-2020 Blackhawks. He had 260-162-53 with an average of 2.45 goals against, 0.918 saves percentage and 26 shutouts in 488 regular season games, and ranks third on Chicago’s all-time winning list.
He was 52-42 with a GAA of 2.38, a saving percentage of 0.918 and five losses in 96 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Crawford’s 52 playoff wins are a Blackhawks record.
“Corey has an unforgettable place in our organization, in the hearts of our fans and in the history of Chicago’s sport,” said the Blackhawks in a statement. “We congratulate Corey on a career worthy of the Hall of Fame – one that we celebrate with him today as a member of the Blackhawks family forever.
“‘Crow’ is not only one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the Chicago Blackhawks franchise, but also a mainstay in our local community throughout his career. … he has thrilled a generation of Blackhawks fans in the past decade, in addition to to bring the city of Chicago two Stanley Cups. We wish him, his wife Kristy and their children, Cooper and Camden, nothing but the best in this next chapter. ”
Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, who has played with Crawford for 13 seasons, said Crawford’s contributions go far beyond stopping records.
“He was an incredible player and obviously a big part of our championships here, a big part of the organization for the past 10-15 years,” said Kane on Saturday. “He’s a nice guy to be with, he always seemed to be in a good mood, he always competed in practice. It helped me to improve only in practice. Obviously, I still feel like he’s been playing at a very high level since last year in the playoffs. I think I just wish him well. Obviously, we will have conversations and talk to him, but sometimes there are bigger things than hockey and we wish him all the best in the future. “
“He always had the attitude that he wanted to win another championship and felt that he could do it here. You always appreciated his level of confidence and he wanted to play. He was a gambler, you know? We talked about his balanced behavior, but he stood up for those big games and he shone in those big games too. “
Crawford, who lost 80 games in the previous two seasons due to concussions, had 16-20-3 with 2.77 GAA, 0.917 percentage of saves and a shutout in 40 games (39 matches) last season.
Devils coach Lindy Ruff said he was looking forward to seeing Crawford play for New Jersey this season.
“My initial thoughts are of disappointment,” said Ruff. “Corey had an incredible career. The conversations I had with him, I understand where he is and I think the fact that he has a great career and has reached that point, you deal with it and move on. It’s something that was obviously in the back of your mind.
“We all had conversations with him, you know, started with [Devils general manager] Tone [Fitzgerald], Myself, [Devils VP and Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur]. You know, you just understand where he was. I think these initial conversations are: ‘How can we help you, there is something that we can change, all that kind of conversation. … but it really wasn’t about any of that. “
Crawford said he was grateful for his time with the Blackhawks, highlighting the Chicago Cup victories during his tenure.
“I am proud to have won two Stanley Cups in Chicago,” said Crawford. “Thank you to all my teammates and coaches over the years. Also, thank you to the fans who make this great game what it is. I am happy and excited to move on to the next chapter of my life with my family.”
NHL.com staff writer Tracey Myers contributed to this report