Henrik Lundqvist, the beloved New York Rangers goaltender, made the announcement on Friday morning that he would officially be retiring from professional ice hockey. After 15 years with the Rangers and 887 games played, Lundqvist took to Twitter to thank all of the fans, the city of New York, and the National Hockey League, saying that “you gave my life purpose and I have loved every single minute of it!”.
Lundqvist was drafted in 2000 by the Rangers in the 7th round and made his debut with the team during the 2005-2006 season. Since then, he has been a staple in the Rangers line-up and a favorite amongst fans for both his stellar play and off-ice charity initiatives.
Although he never got to win the Stanley Cup, throughout his career Lundqvist has earned himself a number of accolades, some of which include winning the Vezina trophy in 2012 and the New York Rangers MVP award, which he earned 9 times between 2007 and 2018. As well, Lundqvist was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team in 2006, the NHL First All-Star Team in 2012, and the NHL Second All-Star Team in 2013.
Internationally, Lundqvist represented team Sweden during his career. One of his most notable achievements on the world stage was when he won the gold medal with Sweden at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Additionally, in 2014, he won a silver medal at the Sochi Olympics.
During his career, Lundqvist recorded 459 wins and a 0.918 save percentage. He also holds a few New York Rangers records, having the most regular season wins by an NYR goaltender (459) and most play-off wins by a goalie in their franchise history (61). As well, he has played more play-off games than any other Ranger, regardless of position, at 130 games.
In addition to being an outstanding netminder, Lundqvist has been involved with various charity projects. Since 2009, Lundqvist has been the Rangers representative for the Garden of Dreams Foundation and in 2014 he founded the Henrik Lundqvist Foundation with his wife. This mission of his non-profit organization is to “create positive change in the lives of children and adults throughout the world through education and health services”. As a result of his extensive charity work, Lundqvist was named a finalist for the ESPN Humanitarian of the Year award in 2015 and the NHL Foundation Player Award for the 2014-2015 season.
During his time with the Rangers, Lundqvist was so adored by fans that he was nicknamed “King Henrik”. Although having many years of success in New York, during the 2019-2020 season up-and-coming goaltenders Alexandar Georgiev and Igor Shesterkin took precedence over Lundqvist, and the team ultimately bought out the final year of his contract in September 2020. As a free agent, Lundqvist signed a one-year deal with the Washington Capitals in October 2020 that was valued at $1.5 million. Unfortunately, Lundqvist was unable to play in the 2020-2021 season as he required heart surgery which took place in January 2021. Although he returned to light practice earlier this summer, Lundqvist experienced some health problems from training and made the decision that it was time for him to retire.
After the news of his retirement, NHL players were quick to comment on King Henrik’s legacy and congratulate him on a successful career. Aleksander Barkov, captain of the Florida Panthers, had nothing but praise for Lundqvist, saying that “his nickname is the King for a reason. He’s a legend. Great goalie, one of the best of all time”. Lundqvist’s former Ranger’s teammate, Igor Shesterkin, also had words of great admiration, stating via an Instagram post “you have always been my inspiration. Not only are you a legendary goaltender but an incredible teammate and person as well”.
The New York Rangers organization quickly announced that Lundqvist’s jersey #30 would be retired at a ceremony during the upcoming 2021-2022 season.
The entire hockey community wishes Henrik success for his next chapter and congratulations on a spectacular career!