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'I was one of the few lucky ones': Blues' Gunnarsson announces his retirement in goodbye note

He penned a goodbye note thanking his family, teammates, fans and the game of hockey itself

ST. LOUIS — The Blues defenseman who helped give St. Louis its first-ever win in a Stanley Cup Final game, along with one heck of an inside story to go with it, is hanging up his skates.

Carl Gunnarsson announced Wednesday he’s retiring from the game. He penned a goodbye note thanking his family, teammates, fans and the game of hockey itself.

“She is a thing of beauty, isn't she?” he began, recounting how he fell in love with the game decades ago when his father introduced him to it in Canada.

Along the way, Gunnarsson said he never imagined making it to the NHL but that “when you put your head down and work hard, sometimes when you look up you find things have gone by so fast, and all of a sudden you're where you dreamt of being.”

Gunnarsson’s NHL career spanned 12 seasons with two teams. He was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs Jays in 2007 and was traded to the Blues in 2014. He said he didn’t know much about the city at the time, but he and his family grew to love it.

“I knew it was a baseball-loving city but didn't know how much it loves hockey. The fans here surprised me and really showed how much they love their Blues, especially during the playoffs,” Gunnarsson wrote. “My wife and I found that it is an amazing place to raise a family. Our two kids were born here, and the people of St. Louis made us feel more than welcome. We are truly proud to have been able to call St. Louis our home for the last seven years.”

One of his most memorable moments came during the Blues’ 2019 Stanley Cup run. He hasn’t scored much in his career, but he came in clutch during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final when he scored the game-winning goal in overtime against the Boston Bruins, giving the Blues their first-ever win in a Final series.

But the story behind the goal will go down as a legendary St. Louis Blues moment.

During intermission between the end of regulation and the start of overtime, Gunnarsson and Coach Craig Berube had an exchange where he called his game-winning shot.

And it all went down in the bathroom.

"We had a talk in between periods there and I just told him (coach Berube) I needed one more,” Gunnarsson said at the time. “I can't deny that. That's where it happened. So that makes it even more fun I guess. It's a good story."

Gunnarsson said the Blues’ historic run will live with him forever.

“Crying tears of joy with my wife and with my brother on the ice after Game 7 is something that will never be erased from my memory. And to personally have had an impact with a game-winning goal in Game 2 of the Final will always make me pinch my arm in disbelief,” he wrote in his goodbye letter.

Gunnarsson ended up scoring 52 points in 325 while wearing the Blues sweater. He was at the end of a two-year contract with the team. A right knee injury back in February knocked him out of the rest of his final season.

“As I hang up my skates for the last time I'm not sure what the future holds for me. But I know I'll love the game of hockey, no matter how hard she makes it,” he said.

You can read Gunnarsson’s full note on the St. Louis Blues website.

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