One of the toughest situations’ fans can endure watching professional hockey is seeing their favorite player sign or be traded to new teams.
Certain players are bigger than the sport. Whether it’s their work within the community, their loyalty to a team, or their passion for the game, some players are beloved by the cities and their fans.
Henrik Lundqvist was one of those players. Classy off the ice and a stallion on the ice, Lundqvist was loved in New York, which isn’t easy to do.
Lundqvist joined the Rangers as a 23-year-old and was the backbone for many seasons in the red, white, and blue. While he was never able to win the Stanley Cup in New York, Lundqvist is easily one of the best goalies the franchise has ever seen.
His career in New York may not be matched by another netminder for decades. Lundqvist was a 2-time All-Star, he won the Vezina and was named to the All-Rookie team in 2006.
Lundqvist was the heart and soul of New York for many seasons, which made it incredibly difficult for Rangers fans when he signed in Washington during the off-season.
The franchise goaltender left for new pastures. While New York fans are well known for bringing in stars, it’s tough to see their own star leave the city and join another club.
Such is life and fans were wishing him nothing but success in his new environment.
The NHL was put on watch with Lundqvist’s signing as many wondered how much stronger the Capitals would be this season.
Unfortunately, hockey fans will have to wait for Lundqvist in the Washington crease, as the 38-year-old announced he will miss the upcoming NHL season due to a heart condition.
In an emotional video posted by the Capitals, Lundqvist went into detail about why he was missing the season.
He called it “a pretty tough and emotional day.” The visibly shaken Lundqvist added that “After lots of discussions with doctors around the country, and finally receiving the last results earlier this week, I, unfortunately, won’t be able to join the team this year.”
“The risk of playing without remedying my condition is too high,” Lundqvist wrote on Twitter, “so I will spend the coming months figuring out the best course of action.”
Many public figures around the league chimed in once the news dropped. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman shared his thoughts, calling Lundqvist “a beloved player” and a “wonderful ambassador” for the sport.
“While we are all saddened as hockey fans that we will not be able to watch Henrik tend goal for the Capitals this season,” Bettman said, “we are also thankful that he will be getting the necessary medical care.”
Lundqvist signed a one-year contract with the Capitals this past off-season. He now turns his attention to his health with the hockey world supporting him every step of the way.