Vancouver Canucks tough guy Derek Dorsett has been advised to end his ice hockey career.
In a press release, the Canucks say that the 30-year-old forward “will not return to the Canucks active roster due to health reasons and risks associated with playing.”
Dorsett, who had been with the Canucks since 2014 after being acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers, underwent cervical disc herniation surgery in December 2016 which left both arms numb for a time. He surprised many when he was eventually cleared to play again at the start of this season.
Dorsett had an inspired start to this season, scoring seven times in 20 games for the Canucks. However, he was sent home from his team’s eastern road trip on November 21 after complaining of stiffness in his neck and back.
It was then that the doctor who performed the initial surgery, Dr. Robert Watkins, advised him to stop playing.
Watkins said: “The latest evaluation of Derek’s neck revealed that he’s sustained a cervical disc herniation adjacent and separate to his previous fusion,
“Given his current condition and the long-term, significant health risks, I advised Derek not to return to play.”
His abrasive playing playing style made Dorsett a firm favourite among hockey fans, in a career which spanned 515 NHL games, during which he scored 51 goals and accumulated 1,314 penalty minutes.
It is not known how or when Dorsett reinjured his neck, although he absorbed a number of blows to his head when fighting LA Kings forward Andy Andreoff in a game on November 14.
Speaking about the decision, Dorsett said: “As hard as it was to hear, Dr. Watkins’ diagnosis is definitive,
“There is no grey area, and it gives me clarity to move forward. I have a healthy young family and a long life of opportunities ahead of me.
“Hockey taught me a lot and it will help me be successful in whatever I choose to do in the future.”