Rich Peverley has announced his retirement after spending a full year attempting to make a comeback from one of the scariest incidents in NHL history.
Peverley collapsed on the bench during a game between the Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets on March 10, 2014. He was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat for which he actually had previous surgery to correct. A second procedure was attempted nine days after he collapsed. He had a cardiac ablation which was an attempt to fix structural damage in his heart to correct problems with arrhythmia.
"It was working out, monitoring how I was doing, continuing to see doctors to exhaust every avenue and find out exactly if I could play," Peverley told the Dallas Morning News. "It's a case that's very complicated, and what I have learned is there is no 100 percent to medicine and, unfortunately, I can't play anymore."
Peverley, 33, will now dedicate his time to helping junior and college prospects of the Dallas Stars.
"I think, not being drafted, I can help kids who are trying to move their way up," he said. "Hopefully I've been through something that every player can relate to."
Peverley played 442 regular-season games in eight seasons with the Nashville Predators, Atlanta Thrashers, Boston Bruins and Stars. He had career highs of 22 goals and 55 points during the 2009-10 season and finished with 84 goals and 241 points. He was a member of the Bruins' Stanley Cup-winning team in 2011 and had nine goals and 21 points in 59 playoff games.
Its hard to believe Peverley was never drafted. He captained St. Lawrence University (where he earned a degree in economics) to an ECAC title in 2001 before apprenticing in the minor leagues. He emerged as a late blooming offensive talent with the Atlanta Thrashers and at times with Boston and Dallas.
Blessed with speedy feet and quick hands, he combined agility and puckhandling along with a playmaker's vision to become an offensive threat. He didn't play overly big or tough defensively, but exploited his speed to create space and scoring opportunities.
He was also a very versatile forward, capable of playing either wing, or even center. He excelled at faceoffs with his quick hands but had trouble being an effective defensive player in the middle.
Although a return to the NHL was not possible, Peverley said he has come to terms with his fate and he's able to live his day-to-day life without any limitations.
"It was a very tough time, and that gave me a lot of reasons to think about life and, to be honest, to be quiet," he said. "One of the main reasons I didn't do any interviews was because I really wanted to take the time and figure out what I wanted to do as a hockey player, as a person, as a husband, and a father. I wanted to figure out what path was good for me in my second chance on life."
"I'm able to work out on an almost daily basis, I'm able to play shinny hockey with my friends, I play in a soccer league now," he said. "I'm enjoying life and I have no worries about my health."
"I can continue to enjoy my life, and I get a second chance at life, and I'm going to try to take advantage of that."