Capitals

Caps' fan-favorite Brooks Laich announces retirement

Capitals

Brooks Laich has officially retired from professional hockey.

The announcement may not come as a surprise considering Laich hasn’t played in three years, but in a statement on Instagram, he said, “it’s been a difficult journey for me to finally arrive at the state where I am happy to say the words ‘I am retiring.’”

His statement in part read:

There comes a time in every athletes life where we must let go of what was, so we can fully step into what will be.

That time has finally arrived for me, and today I formally announce my retirement from professional hockey.   

It has been over 3 years since I last played in the @nhl, and it’s been a difficult journey for me to finally arrive at the state where I am happy say the words “I am retiring.”  

Every athlete experiences this transition differently, and though the process went slower than I had hoped, I am excited to have finally arrived at peace with it.  

I reflect on my entire hockey journey with immense pride, for I poured my heart and soul into being the best hockey player I could be for over three decades.  

I was able to express myself though the sport I loved, and compete with and against the best in the world for 13 seasons in the nhl.  

My entire hockey journey has always been just a boy playing the game he loved, and that’s how I will choose to remember it… 🏒😄

Instagram/brookslaich

Laich was a key player for the Caps during the Rock the Red era, helping the team return to playoff contention. After 12 years in Washington, he was traded in Feb. 2016 to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Daniel Winnik and a fifth-round draft pick. Laich finished the 2015-16 season with the Maple Leafs, then was sent down to their AHL affiliate for the last year of his contract.

As a free agent in 2017, he signed a professional try-out agreement with the LA Kings during training camp, was released before opening night, then returned on a one-year contract in October as the Kings’ lineup dealt with injuries. 

The 12 games Laich played with the Kings would be his last as he was placed on unconditional waivers that November to terminate his contract. 

Laich will always be remembered fondly in DC, not only for his accomplishments on the ice but for his generosity off the ice, including stopping to help a mother and daughter when their car broke down on the side of the road after the Caps’ Game 7 loss in 2010 and going viral for leaving an enormous tip for a server at an Arlington restaurant.