New York Islanders defenceman Johnny Boychuk is hanging up his skates and calling it a career.

In a tweet from the New York Islanders’ verified Twitter account, the organization stated that the veteran blueliner was forced to retire after “numerous and extensive medical exams” from an eye injury suffered last season.

New York Islanders / Twitter

The 36-year-old Stanley-Cup-winning defenceman took a skate to the face from Montreal Canadiens’ forward Artturi Lehkonen during the third period of their game on March 3, 2020, which would ultimately end in a 6-2 Canadiens’ victory.

Boychuk suffered a detached retina and other catastrophic eye injuries, and needed 90 stitches from lacerations suffered from this incident that would keep him out of the Islanders’ entire 2020 Stanley Cup Playoff run. The Islanders would lose to the eventual Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Asked about the injury, Boychuk stated:

“I kind of felt it in the bubble a little bit but when I got there I started to work out and I really realized that there was something wrong. I went and got it checked out, after I got it checked out I let Lou [Lamoriello, Islanders’ GM] know what was going on and that’s basically how it happened. It’s been two months of going to doctors and MRIs and x-rays. It’s been a lot, it’s been a while.”

“It wasn’t a decision, it was a life choice.”

In 725 career games, Boychuk finishes his career with 54 goals and 152 assists for 206 points. He has also recorded an impressive +123 over his NHL career.

Boychuk further stated that he suffers from poor peripheral vision due to the injury, and that his left eye has suffered permanent optic nerve damage.

“When somebody tells you that you’re not going to play again or you shouldn’t or else you’re going to get seriously hurt, it’s a really tough pill to swallow.”

Boychuk won a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011.

Featured photo courtesy of NHL.com

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