Derian Hatcher announced his retirement today.
The post-NHL lockout world was not made for Derian Hatcher, and it showed. But in the years of the ultra-physical, tight checking NHL leading up to that time, Hatcher was one of the biggest, baddest and most feared men in hockey.
And one of the most effective. He was a tower of power with Dallas when he captained the Stars to the 1999 Stanley Cup. He was also a starring figure for the Americans at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. For a good portion of the 1990s he was a top 10 defenseman in the NHL.
He was always amongst my favorite players. From his effort and intensity, to his surprisingly effective hockey mind, he was a player I know I tried to emulate when playing street hockey and floor hockey back in the 1990s. I was too old to keep up with the young whippersnappers I played with, but I took great pride in my defensive play and my physicality, even though there was no hitting supposedly allowed.
Derian Hatcher would have been proud of me.