After his second season in Europe, longtime NHL forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard sat back and wondered about calling it a career. Three concussions cost him years of hockey, so the 31-year-old thought about his future.
''I'm healthy right now, my head is fine, I have a beautiful family,'' Bouchard said. ''Is it worth it? And the answer was no. I guess my priority was my health.''
Bouchard announced his retirement Friday, hanging up his skates after 593 NHL games, a vast majority with the Minnesota Wild. A 2002 first-round pick, Bouchard spent parts of 10 seasons with the Wild and is third in franchise history in games played, fourth in goals, second in assists and third in points.
The 5-foot-10 forward from Sherbrooke, Quebec, said he was proud of his career, especially spending so much of it in Minnesota before one season with the New York Islanders.
''It was always a dream come true to play in the NHL, especially I'm not a big guy and it was always a battle to prove what I could do,'' Bouchard said in a phone interview.
Bouchard had 106 goals, 241 assists and 347 points in the NHL and would've had more had it not been for concussions derailing him. He said two concussions forced him to miss more than a year.
That's why after his second season playing in Switzerland, Bouchard decided it wasn't worth the risk finishing out his contract.
''I just felt for some reason that I had to retire,'' Bouchard said. ''A few times during the season I got hit pretty solid, I got hit from behind and stuff. I got lucky I didn't get hurt worse or I didn't get another concussion.''