Derek Dorsett forced to hang up the skates

Back issues force Kindersley product Derek Dorsett to leave the NHL after more than 500 games

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Kindersley Clarion staff

Health problems are forcing Kindersley Sask.’s Derek Dorsett to hang up his skates.

The National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks announced last week that due to the health risks associated with playing, the 30-year-old must retire.

Dorsett has played 515 NHL games through 10 seasons (with 51 goals and 76 assists for 127 points) with Columbus, New York Rangers and Vancouver. And he was off to a great start this season, having scored seven goals and chipping in two assists in his first 20 games.

Canucks head team physician Dr. Bill Regan and director of rehabilitation Dr. Rick Celebrini were working on a treatment and rehab regimen to address an ongoing condition. In December 2016, they made the decision to perform cervical disc herniation surgery.

 Derek Dorsett

Following surgery, Dorsett progressed through treatment and rehabilitation and was cleared to play at the start of the 2017-18 season.

But neck and back stiffness recently returned.

In a media release, Regan says that they immediately removed Dorsett from the active roster.

Dr. Robert Watkins, who performed the surgery in 2016, explained: “The latest evaluation of Derek’s neck revealed that he’s sustained a cervical disc herniation adjacent and separate to his previous fusion,” he said. “Given his current condition and the long-term, significant health risks, I advised Derek not to return to play.”

Dorsett, in a release, said the news was difficult to take.

“I’m devastated by the news. It will take a long time for this to truly sink in. 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.

“I still have so many thoughts to share and people to thank for all of their support,” continued Dorsett. “What I can say for certain right now is that I left it all out on the ice. I gave my heart and soul to the teams I played for and never backed down from a challenge, including this one. I am proud of the way I played. It made me successful and a good teammate. Most of all I am truly honoured and grateful to have lived the NHL dream,” he said.

Canucks general manager Jim Benning said that the news was unfortunate.

“Derek overcame the odds to make the NHL and play over 500 games,” he said. “He’s an example of what you can accomplish when you persevere. He is a great teammate, a terrific role model and leader for younger players. This is truly unfortunate news for Derek, his family and our team. We will be there every step of the way to support him, his wife Ali and his family as they take the next steps in their lives.”

Derek Dorsett, nhl

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