Kunitz retires, will join Blackhawks coaching staff
Blackhawks forward Chris Kunitz announced Tuesday his retirement following 15 seasons in the National Hockey League. He will join the hockey operations department as player development adviser, assisting with the Blackhawks coaching staff as well as the coaching staff with the Rockford IceHogs, the team's American Hockey League affiliate.
Kunitz, 39, appeared in 56 games with the Blackhawks during the 2018-19 season that was highlighted by skating in his 1,000th career NHL game Feb. 14.
The four-time Stanley Cup winner played in 1,022 career games. He finished with 268 goals and 351 assists. He also skated in 178 playoff games with 27 goals and 66 assists.
Kunitz was undrafted and signed as a free agent with Anaheim in 2003. He spent the majority of his 15-year career with Pittsburgh. He helped Team Canada to a Gold Medal in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and earned a Silver Medal with Canada at the 2008 World Championships.
"First and foremost, I'd like to sincerely thank the Anaheim Ducks, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks. Every one of these organizations was the ultimate example, not only to me, but to my children, on what true professionalism should be," Kunitz said in a statement.
"To my teammates, thank you for everything. As a young player you taught me to give my very best. Your leadership helped mold me into the player I knew I could be. I was given the opportunity to play with the very best teams and the very best players and I'm grateful for the laughs and the friendships that we shared together. Thank you for making my childhood dream come true."
"While coaching him last year, I recognized what an asset he would be for our staff and the organization," Hawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. "I'm very pleased to have him a part of our coaching group and, also, use him as a development resource for our young players in Rockford."