In a shocking move, New Jersey Devils' forward Ilya Kovalchuk has announced his retirement from the NHL.
“This decision was something I have thought about for a long time going back to the lockout and spending the year in Russia,” Kovalchuk said in a press release. “Though I decided to return this past season, Lou was aware of my desire to go back home and have my family there with me. The most difficult thing for me is to leave the New Jersey Devils, a great organization that I have a lot of respect for, and our fans that have been great to me.”
Kovalchuk, 30, finishes his NHL career with 816 points in 816 games. The forward still had 12 years, $77 million left on his contract with New Jersey.