Brian Gionta said Monday it felt “funny” to have a press conference to announce his retirement.
He didn’t think his career warranted one.
1,026 career games.
16 NHL seasons.
Two Olympic games.
One Stanley Cup hoisted.
I respectfully disagree with him. Brian Gionta’s career deserved a press conference and maybe a trip to the Hall of Fame someday.
The 39-year old says he’s “at peace” with his decision to retire. Gionta is looking forward to spending more time with his family and taking a small role within the Sabres organization.
“I’ve been fortunate to have lasted a long time and made a career of this.” said Gionta. “I never thought that would have happened, but I’m fortunate that I’m walking away from the game to something even better and that’s being apart of my kids growing up.”
Playing with the Amerks last year was special to the Rochester native and he says it helped ease the transition to step away.
“It was a real unique situation that I was able to know it was kinda coming and also prepare for it but still be a part of it last year so a lot of the emotion was last summer but you got in that daily routine of being around the kids a little more and maybe looking forward to be apart of that next stage,” added Gionta.
In his impressive career that includes being a four time All-American and Hobey Baker award winner at Boston College, Gionta says playing for his hometown team was one the highlights.
“That’s where I grew up playing and you grew up going to games at was the War Memorial back in the day and playing knee hockey with your hockey buddies,” smiled Gionta.
When asked if he thought about possibly playing with the Amerks this season, Gionta grinned and said “No.”
Then laughed and added, “My body couldn’t take the bus rides.”
Gionta says he’s at peace with the decision to retire but added, “It will be hard at times because that’s what you’re use to. But it’s the right decision.”