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Was there any other way for Mikhail Grabovski, a man known for his flash and pizazz throughout his career, to announce his retirement from professional hockey?
In a video filled with enough emotion, drama and heart to create Oscar buzz, Grabovski declared he will no longer be playing professional hockey in a YouTube video that he uploaded to his newly created channel on Wednesday.
Staring right down the barrel of a camera in the Minsk rink where he learned to play the game, the German-born Belarusian had plenty to say about the impact his time in the NHL had on his life.
Interested in wicked montages driven by EDM music? You’ve come to the right place. How about tear-inducing piano during reflective chatter? There’s plenty of it. And what about b-roll shots of a man who appears to be deep in thought while walking around an arena sans ice? Once again, this video checks the box.
“It’s the moment where I grew up like an NHL player,” Grabovski said about his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“After many years, playing (for) different teams, my heart now still in Maple Leafs, still in Toronto,” he explained later in the video. “Thanks fans, friends, thanks to the city to give me chance to enjoy the hockey and NHL in the best way... For me, that’s the greatest place I ever play(ed).”
Grabovski skated in 340 of his 534 regular season games during his 10-year NHL career with the Leafs, collecting 208 of his 296 career points while wearing the blue and white.
Although the numbers surely support his glowing review of Toronto, Leafs fans may be surprised to hear the 35-year-old say those things considering how his time with the team came to an end.
Following a career-best campaign in 2010-11 where he scored 29 goals and 58 points, Grabovski continued he strong production into the next season and signed a five-year, $27.5 million deal with the franchise in March of 2012.
Considering he grew up in Belarus with very little, it was an enormous moment for him. However, seemingly from then on, he was never able to contribute like he did before. Once the 2012-13 lockout came to an end, he only scored nine goals and 16 points in 48 games.
When all was said and done, the Leafs ended up buying out his contract in July of 2013, less than 16 months after the extension was signed.
He went on to play for the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders over the next three seasons to finish off his time in the NHL.
Since leaving the league due to concussion problems, he’s embraced life on the bench and is currently an assistant coach with HC Dinamo Minsk of the KHL.
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