Former Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, who helped bring the franchise two Stanley Cup trophies, stuns hockey world with decision to retire

Phil Thompson, Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — It turns out Corey Crawford won’t play a game for any team other than the Chicago Blackhawks.

The two-time Stanley Cup champion and two-time Jennings Trophy winner announced his retirement Saturday, issuing a farewell statement to fans and the Hawks and Devils organizations through the New Jersey Devils’ communications staff.

The statement came less than a week before he was set to begin the season with the Devils.

“I have been fortunate to have had a long career playing professional hockey for a living. I wanted to continue my career, but believe I’ve given all I can to the game of hockey, and I have decided that it is time to retire. I would like to thank the New Jersey Devils organization for understanding and supporting my decision.

“I would like to thank the Chicago Blackhawks organization for giving me the chance to live my childhood dream. I am proud to have been part of winning two Stanley Cups in Chicago. Thank you to all of my teammates and coaches throughout the years. Also, thank you to the fans who make this great game what it is. I am happy and excited to move on to the next chapter of my life with my family.”

According to a Devils spokesman, Crawford would not have further comment to media until further notice.

Just Friday, the Devils had announced that Crawford would be “taking an indefinite leave of absence due to personal reasons.”

The 36-year-old, who would’ve been entering his 11th season in the NHL, did not participate in camp.

The Blackhawks issues a statement on social media congratulating Crawford on a “Hall of Fame-worthy career” and stating that he will remain a member of the “Blackhawks family forevermore.”

Former goalie and current NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes tweeted, “Wishing the best to Corey Crawford in his retirement after an incredible @NHL career with the @NHLBlackhawks . Fortunately the @NJDevils have impressive young Blackwood, but now the goalie market gets interesting again ! Stay tuned.”

After some standout performances in the Edmonton bubble, Crawford had expressed the desire to return to the Hawks. He and the now-president of hockey operations Stan Bowman reportedly couldn’t agree to terms on the length of the deal.

The Hawks were in the process of shifting their focus to rebuilding through younger players and parted ways with Crawford.