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.
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!”