Chris Pronger finally addressed the status of his NHL career last week, first in a series of interviews with Dan Murphy and later in a press conference with the Philadelphia media. And while the defenceman stopped short of formally announcing his retirement, it seems all but certain that he'll never play again.
That's hard news to swallow in the hockey world, including around here where Pronger has been a frequent source of material. It wouldn't seem right to let the occasion pass without dedicating one more post to one of hockey most infamous personalities. So here's one last look back at the career of a hockey legend.
October 10, 1974 - Chris Pronger is born to Jim and Eila Pronger in Dryden, Ontario, according to a doctor holding an icepack over his black eye and muttering that he could swear that kid did that on purpose.
June 26, 1993 - Pronger is chosen by the Whalers with the second overall pick in the 1993 entry draft. "I'm glad I got drafted first, because no one remembers number two," says some guy.
March 25, 1994 - Pronger and five Hartford teammates are arrested after a bar room brawl caused by some obviously drunken moron who won't stop yelling about how someday it will seem like a good idea to move the Whalers to Carolina.
July 27, 1995 - Chris Pronger is traded straight up for Brendan Shanahan, which in hindsight is basically the NHL discipline department's "the Joker kills Bruce Wayne's parents" moment.
April 18, 1996 - In a playoff game against the Maple Leafs, Pronger shows his incredible strength by cross-checking Nick Kypreos so hard that he temporarily suspends the laws of physics, causing him to fall in the opposite direction and directly onto Grant Fuhr's ACL.
February 20, 1998 - Pronger plays for Team Canada in their infamous loss to the Czech Republic at the Nagono Olympics, but does not get a turn in the shootout because he is a defenceman and that would be stupid.
May 10, 1998 - In a scary moment, Pronger briefly suffers cardiac arrest when a puck hits him directly in nest full of acid-spitting black scorpions who live in the big empty space where his heart should be.
June 15, 2000 - At the annual NHL awards show, Pronger takes home both the Hart Trophy and Norris Trophy, causing the show's confused organizers to eventually realize he's not coming back and they'll have to cancel the presentation of the awards to the players who were actually supposed to win them.
November 23, 2003 - In an effort to encourage NHL teams to make sure everyone gets a chance to have Chris Pronger play for them at some point, scientists invent Joffrey Lupul.
August 3, 2005 - After being traded to Edmonton, Pronger signs a five-year extension that he assures fans will keep him in Edmonton long enough to enjoy every Oilers playoff run for the rest of the decade.
June 5, 2006 - Pronger becomes the first player in history to score on a penalty shot in the Stanley Cup finals, as he executes a little move he likes to call "fake right, deke left, sprint for the nearest exit and jump on the first bus out of this god-forsaken hell hole."
June 3, 2007 - In the middle of the Anaheim/Ottawa Stanley Cup finals, Pronger is suspended for one game for elbowing Dean McAmmond in the head. A remorseful Pronger acknowledges learning his lesson, and vows that the next time he gets mad at someone he'll just take a slapshot at them after the whistle like a gentleman.
March 12, 2008 - Pronger is suspended for eight games after stomping the leg of Canucks forward Ryan Kesler, resulting in an injury so severe that to this day it still causes Kesler to randomly fall down even though nobody even touched him.
July 7, 2009 - Pronger signs a seven-year, $35 million extension with the Flyers that includes a $3 million signing bonus, a no-movement clause, and a promise to let go of Paul Holmgrem's fingers that he's been calmly crushing ever since they first shook hands two weeks ago.
February 28, 2010 - Pronger becomes the all-time leader in games played for Team Canada in Olympic hockey. He is also briefly named the all-time leader in luge competitions, before Olympic officials clarify that showing up and randomly throwing elderly spectators down an icy hill while laughing doesn't really count as "competing" in the luge.
March 7, 2013 - A tearful Pronger announces that he'll be stepping away from the sport to focus on what's really important to him: spending quality time with all those stolen pucks from the Blackhawks Stanley Cup win.