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Gone too soon: Classy Matt Calvert retires

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Matt Calvert
Adrian Dater

It was tough to see the official announcement from the National Hockey League Players Association today, that Matt Calvert has decided to retire after 566 games – 150 of them with the Colorado Avalanche.

Calvert was one of the best-liked players ever to come through the Avs dressing room – by both his teammates and the media and team staff. He always had a welcoming seat next to his locker to talk about the game or anything else, really. He was a very good player for the Avs when he was healthy. That, of course, was the problem.

Concussion issues bedeviled Calvert, but it wasn’t because of concussion issues that forced his retirement. Calvert recently underwent a pretty serious back surgery. Back problems are what sidelined him at the end of his final season with the Avs.

When Matt Calvert signed a three-year free-agent contract with the Avs in 2018, things went swimmingly at first. He played in all 82 games for the Avs in 2018-19, scoring 11 goals and 26 points and part of an Avs team that got back into the playoffs for the first time in five years. But that’s when the concussion problems started. He missed two games in a series with the San Jose Sharks, including Game 7 at the Shark Tank. That really hurt the Avs.

Calvert was a great glue guy, especially in the playoffs. But the great misfortune of his time here was that he was hurt in all three playoff “seasons” he was a part of with the Avs. There were the concussion issues in 2019, then, in the bubble in Edmonton in 2020, he played in the first round against Arizona but mysteriously left the ice after warmups prior to Game 1 against Dallas and never played again in the series. His absence really hurt against that Dallas team too.

This season, Calvert wasn’t able to play at all in the postseason.

We just have to wish Calvert happiness and good health from here onward. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if he stays in the game somehow, either as a coach or maybe even in media, as an analyst. He’s articulate and really knows the game, so he’d be real good in either capacity.

Bonus Voucher!

Best wishes, Calvy.

Here’s a statement Calvert made, through the NHLPA website:

“I’ve been lucky enough to play the game I love since I was five years old. I never played to make it to the NHL. I played to compete. I played for my teammates. I played for the fans. I played for my family. I played because I loved to battle, and I played to win. I dreamt of becoming an accountant when I was 18 years old and three years later, I was playing in the NHL. My favorite parts of the ride were the locker room and the fans. It wasn’t the same without the fans cheering us on this last year. We feed off of them. The fans make the game special. It was an absolute honor to wear the Columbus Blue Jackets and Colorado Avalanche jerseys throughout my career. I would bleed for those organizations any day. Thank you to the best parents in the world. You sacrificed everything to give me the opportunity to play in the National Hockey League. You mean the world to me and I wouldn’t have played a game without you. Thank you to my brothers for pushing me to be the best I could be. Thank you to my beautiful wife Courtney, and my boys Kasey and Beau for being my biggest fans. Thank you to my extended family for all the support. Thank you to every coach and GM that pushed me to be my best. Thank you to the Wagons. Thank you to all the special people I met along the way. What an amazing journey. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have had this opportunity. I look forward to skating on the outdoor rinks with my boys in retirement. I love you all!”

 

 

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies. Previously Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report to name just a few.

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John Scott

Did he die? That headline though.

Ricardo

Wow, what a class guy. Hopefully he can get into coaching , administration etc. without concussion problems.

Karl Keen

Really bummed for him. He was one of my favorite players and the exact type of player you need on a team to win the SC. Despite being bounced for the last three years in the 2nd round to bigger, more physical opponents, major concern right now that not only are we not going to get tougher for next year, but we may get softer and smaller (not that Calvert was big). We will see what the next few weeks holds. I saw that Avs are thinking of trading for Kessel from AZ so that would be a good start… Read more »

Kurt Scherer

Mixed feelings. On the one hand disappointed because Calvert was absolutely one of my favorite players on this team. I really miss the fourth line of two seasons ago of Pierre Edmourd Bellemare, Matt Calvert and Matt Nietto. The only fourth line that made me sit up in my seat. I was, however, concerned with Calvy’s concussion history combined with his willingness to drop gloves versus anybody. I mean anybody. I will always remember Calvy giving Jamie Benn the polite, professional shove in the back on a face-off, to announce “we’re going”, only to see Benn scurry away. (they did,… Read more »

Matt Briggle

Congrats on a great career Calvy and wishing him all the best in whatever path he takes going forward. Random thought here – how crazy would it have been if he and Downie had ever gotten to play on the same team?

ricoflashback

A class player, person and sorely missed in the playoffs. I thought this would happen because of repeated concussions but it just goes to show you that smaller players in the NHL are really exposed, physically. This is not the 80’s and free wheeling up and down the ice. Now, you have 220+ players with speed and skill. Wishing him the best and if he chooses to be involved in hockey in whatever capacity, he’ll be a success. Staying in Denver? Does DU need someone with his background? How about the Avs?

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