Journeyman’s NHL Career Comes to an End
After 16 years playing for six different NHL franchises, one journeyman goaltender has finally decided to call it a career.
Jason LaBarbera played his final NHL games last season with the Anaheim Ducks and compiled a 2-0-1 record in five games. He has more to offer, whether it be in NHL or in Europe, but LaBarbera is ready to hang up his skates at the age of 36 in hopes for a more stable life for his family.
“Just the thought of recovering (from surgery), finding another job, moving my family or, doing what we’ve done in the past few years — me leaving and them staying,” LaBarbera told the Calgary Herald. “It wasn’t really an option. We’d done it for two years and I just can’t do it again.
“I could still play if I wanted to. I’m sure there’s lots of places and Europe that would take me. But, at the same time, I didn’t want to uproot my family.”
Instead of playing the game he loves, LaBarbera now finds himself facing a new challenge as he was just hired to be goaltending coach of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. While the veteran goaltender might be nervous, he’s also looking forward to his new role.
“I am really excited about this opportunity and moving onto the next chapter of my life,” said LaBarbera in the official press release. “I’m also looking forward to the challenges of coaching and being able to pass along some of my experiences to the guys on the team.”