Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw retires after latest concussion

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CHICAGO — Andrew Shaw, the gritty forward who played a key role in helping the Chicago Blackhawks win two Stanley Cup championships, announced his retirement Monday on the advice of his doctors after multiple concussions over the course of his career.

The native of Belleville, Ontario, played 10 seasons in the NHL, seven with Chicago sandwiched around three with Montreal. In all, the fifth-round draft pick in 2011 piled up 116 goals, 131 assists and 573 penalty minutes as he brought a grinding, pesky presence to the front line. The stats he was likely most proud of: A career plus-24 and 14 game-winning goals.

The 29-year-old Shaw played in only 14 games this season, the last on Feb. 9 against Dallas when he suffered his latest concussion.

“Though he has recovered, given the potential long-term consequences of repetitive concussions, we have advised him to discontinue his career as a professional hockey player,” team Dr. Michael Terry said. “The Blackhawks are very supportive of his decision to prioritize his long-term health.”

Generously listed at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, Shaw was a self-described “mutt” on a team with budding stars and quickly became a fan favourite in Chicago for his scrappy play. Many welcomed his return from Montreal last year.

He spent his first five seasons with the Blackhawks, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015, and was part of one of the most memorable plays in franchise history. He was credited with a goal in the third overtime of Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against Boston when the puck went off his right shin pad and into the net. Two years later, he jumped in a goalmouth scramble and knocked the puck into the net with a soccer-style header in a game at Anaheim in the Western Conference Final , though it was disallowed.

“There comes a time when every athlete needs to realize when their health is a priority and a future with their family is what is most important,” Shaw said. “That point for me is now. After several concussions, doctors have strongly recommended I stop playing the game that I love. For once in my life, I am going to listen.”

Shaw said he would miss his teammates -- “though I might have been excessively loud, pulled a prank once or twice and given you a hard time, I always prided myself on keeping the mood light and being the best teammate I could be” -- and the fans: “Thank you all for giving a mutt a home, and a chance to live out my dream.”

The Associated Press