I woke up today, got some coffee brewing and then sat down at the computer. As always, my first move of the day is to log onto Twitter and catch up on the overnight tweets. In between all the NFL free-agency news, I saw a sad announcement: Blake Geoffrion will announce his retirement after suffering a horrific skull fracture after a violent hit during a game on November 9th, 2012.
Geoffrion, the 2010 Hobey Baker award winner for best collegiate hockey player in the US, was acquired from the Nashville Predators in the Hal Gill trade on Feb 17, 2012. When he made his debut with the Canadiens, he became the first fourth-generation Canadien: His father Dan Geoffrion, grandfather Bernie ‘Boom-Boom’ Geoffrion and great-grandfather, Howie Morenz, all preceded him. The Habs blood-line ran thick with Geoffrion. He finished the 2011-12 season with 2 goals in 13 games with the Habs.
I’ve always had a soft-spot for Geoffrion. I liked the back story of his family history and I liked how he respected the history of the Canadiens and his family’s role in that history. Choosing to honor both his grandfather and great-grandfather by donning the No.57 (Bernie Geoffrion wore 5, Howie Morenz 7 and both numbers are retired), I hoped he would have secured a spot on the opening day lineup. Instead the NHL lockout forced him to start the year playing for the Hamilton Bulldogs in the American Hockey League (AHL), where he suffered his unfortunate career-ending injury. While talented, he never projected to be more than a bottom six depth player at the NHL level. He possessed good size and a solid two-way game, but he never projected to be a scoring champion.
However, due to circumstances beyond his control, his professional hockey career is over. I do applaud him for taking the smart path and putting his long-term health above his career aspirations. Its never easy for an athlete to give up the sport they devoted their life to. I would imagine its especially hard to step away when their career is cut short due to injury and not because they were ready to step aside. Every athlete wants to leave on their own terms.
I would speculate that Geoffrion will be offered a position within the organization, should he choose to accept it. He is a bright, young individual with a degree to fall back on. He’ll land on his feet and do well whatever he chooses to do. Due to a freak injury, suffered in a game he was potentially only playing in because of the NHL lockout, we’re left wondering what could have been for Blake Geoffrion.
Good luck in the future, Blake.