This afternoon, a Buffalo Sabres legend hung up his skates and ended his NHL career.
In a press release from the NHL Players Association on Friday, Chris Drury, 34 years old, confirmed his retirement.
Drury, a 12-year veteran of the NHL, played with the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres and the New York Rangers. He ends his career with 615 points in 892 games (250 goals, 360 assists).
Fans of Chris Drury will remember his career for many different things. Some will remember the clutch goals he scored (47 game-winning goals in the regular season and 17 in the playoffs), others will remember his endless leadership on and off the ice.
Drury began his sports career as a pitcher in little league for Trumbull, Connecticut where he pitched a five-hit, complete game shutout to win the Little League World Series in 1989. In college, Drury helped lead Boston University to an NCAA Hockey Championship in his first year. In his senior year, Drury was awarded the Hobey Baker Award, NCAA’s hockey version of the MVP.
Among reaching the NHL, Drury won the Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) in the 1998-99 season. Two seasons later, Drury would win his only Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche. In 2002, Drury won his first silver medal with Team USA in the Winter Olympics. Drury would go on to win another silver medal with Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics.
After a season with the Calgary Flames, the Buffalo Sabres acquired Chris Drury in the 2003 offseason.
During his three-year run with the Sabres, Drury scored 85 goals and 104 assists, tallying 189 points.
In 34 playoff games for the Sabres, Drury scored 31 points (17 goals, 14 assists).
Drury was a Sabres captain in November 2003 and March 2004 before being named co-captain for the 2005-2007 seasons.
Following the 2007 season, Drury became an unrestricted free agent and left Buffalo to sign a 5-year, $32.25 million dollar deal with the New York Rangers. Drury would play the next four seasons with the Rangers before being bought out in the most recent offseason, due to a degenerative left knee condition.
It’s a tough way for a great leader to go out but there is one thing that Sabres fans will never forget about Chris Drury, Game 5 in the 2006-07 playoffs versus the New York Rangers. I think Drury’s ex-teammate Joe Sakic explained Drury the best when he said, “You want a goal, you’re in overtime, you want him.”
For everything that Chris Drury did for the city of Buffalo and the Buffalo Sabres organization, I think I speak for the majority of the Sabres fans when I say, thank you Chris Drury.