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January 13, 2016

Robyn Regehr

Robyn Regehr is the greatest hockey player ever to come out of Brazil.

Yes, you read that correctly. Back in 1980 Robyn was born in Racife, Brazil, home of soccer and tennis stars. And no, he is not the only NHLer to be born in Brazil. Mike Greenlay, an Edmonton Oilers goalie for two games, was also born there.

By the time Regehr was three years old, he and his family moved to Indonesia, where his brother (and future NHL teammate) Richie was born.

The sons of Mennonite missionaries, neither Robyn or Richie remember too much about their beginnings. By the time Robyn was seven the family had settled in the tiny and cold farming community of Rosthern, Saskatchewan, about half way between Saskatoon and Prince Albert.

It was on the frozen sloughs in the unforgiving Saskatchewan winters that the Regehr boys fell in love with hockey. It turned out they were really good at it, too.

By 1996 Regehr graduated to the Western Hockey League. He moved to British Columbia to play for the Kamloops Blazers. In three years in Kamloops he would become a WHL all-star, help the Blazers to the WHL championship series vs the Calgary Hitmen (1999) and win a silver medal at the World Junior championships (1999).

The six-foot-three, 225-pound defender was drafted 19th overall by the Colorado Avalanche, but was included as part of a trade package to Calgary to land Theoren Fleury. The Flames were ecstatic to land Regehr, who promised to become a punishing but clean shut-down defender for years to come.

Weeks after the trade, Regehr's future in hockey was the least of his concerns. In July 1999 he was in a horrific car accident and was lucky to walk again. He broke both of his legs.

Amazingly, four months later he made his NHL debut.

"Going through that situation and how emotional that was and how tough physically it was and all the rehab I had to go through as a 19-year-old, I felt different," Regehr recalled. "I wanted to make the most of any opportunity that I got."

Regehr went on to a lengthy NHL career, scoring 36 goals and 163 assists in 1,090 NHL games. He was an integral part of Calgary's run to the 2004 Stanley Cup final, which the Flames lost in seven game to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He also played for Canada at two World Championships (2000 and 2005), the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the 2006 Olympics. 

With the Flames needing to clear salary cap space Regehr was traded to Buffalo in 2011. In 2013 he was moved to the Los Angeles Kings. Regehr helped the Kings with the Stanley Cup in 2014, though he missed the final three rounds of the playoffs with a knee injury.

Regehr announced his retirement officially in January 2016, signing a one day ceremonial contract with the Calgary Flames.

"The body knew it was time and also not needing to chase a championship around anymore, there were things that fell into place that kind of made sense," he said.

"I always felt that I was a Calgary Flame and when I look back on my career, that's the team that I identify the most with, having spent the most time here, having a big group of family and friends and a support network here in Calgary," Regehr said Monday at a news conference.

"I put a lot of time and effort into the team when I was here. It's a nice way to celebrate that."

Regehr lives in Calgary and will continue working in the oil rig equipment rental business. He and two investors started a company called Blueline back in 2009.

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