Hockey legend retiring after brutal health diagnosis

Published October 11, 2023 at 10:30

There's some heartbreaking news in the hockey world today, as former player, head coach, and ESPN broadcaster Barry Melrose is retiring after receiving a diagnosis for Parkinson's Disease.

Melrose himself released a statement via ESPN yesterday, which reads as follows:

"I've had over 50 extraordinary years playing, coaching and analyzing the world's greatest game, hockey," he said. "It's now time to hang up my skates and focus on my health, my family, including my supportive wife Cindy, and whatever comes next."

"I'm beyond grateful for my hockey career, and to have called ESPN home for almost 30 years. Thanks for the incredible memories and I'll now be cheering for you from the stands."

Melrose, now 67 years old, spent time in the NHL as a player for the Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Detroit Red Wings. After his playing days, he turned to coaching, and led the Los Angeles Kings to the Stanley Cup Final in 1993. He also had a short stint as head coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008. After leaving the game for good, Melrose became a fixture in ESPN's broadcast booth until his retirement yesterday.

The NHL's commissioner Gary Bettman released a statement in support of Melrose and detailing his legacy in hockey.

"Barry is a unique, one-of-a-kind person. And hockey on ESPN won't be the same without him.

For nearly 50 years, as a player, coach and broadcaster, Barry‘s gigantic personality and trademark style have made our game bigger, more exciting and more entertaining. His love for hockey is obvious and infectious. And it is impossible to have a conversation with him without a smile on your face.

Barry, we wish you well in this fight and know you will give it everything you have – as you always do."

Our thoughts are with Barry Melrose and his family at this difficult time.

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