On Monday morning, St. Louis Blues forward Chris Thorburn officially announced his retirement from professional hockey and the National Hockey League. The 37-year-old product of Sault Ste. Marie, ON. finished his career by winning the Stanley Cup as a member of the Blues in 2019, following six years as a forward for the Winnipeg Jets.
“Thank you to everyone who supported me, believed in me, and influenced me throughout my hockey career,” Thorburn said in a press release Monday. “The Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues all took a chance on me and for that I am forever grateful.”
During his time in Winnipeg, the six-foot-3, 240-pound pugilist racked up 24 goals, 56 points and 470 penalty minutes in 396 regular season games for the Jets, providing much entertainment as a physical force of nature, serving as a mainstay on the fourth line. Thorburn totalled 53 goals, 134 points and 968 penalty minutes in 801 career regular season games between the Sabres, Penguins, Atlanta Thrashers, Jets and Blues.
“To finish my hockey career with the St. Louis Blues and finally get an opportunity to lift the Stanley Cup over my head, I could not have scripted a better way to go out,” Thorburn said. “Thank you to Doug Armstrong and Tom Stillman, as well as Craig Berube, the coaching staff and the training staff. Most importantly, thank you to my Blues teammates for taking me on a journey of a lifetime.”
Drafted 50th overall in the second round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Thorburn continued his time in the Ontario Hockey League as an offence-driver for the North Bay Centennials, Saginaw Spirit and Plymouth Whalers, before getting his first shot at professional hockey with the Sabres’ American Hockey League affiliate Rochester from 2003-06. A quick recall by Buffalo led to a short stint with the Penguins, before Thorburn found a home in Atlanta, where he missed just 15 total games in four full seasons with the Thrashers.
Moving with the team to Winnipeg when relocation ended the Atlanta Thrashers, Thorburn took on a significant role, serving as the grit on the ‘GST’ line, operating alongside Tanner Glass and Jim Slater. Before being selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2017 Expansion Draft, Thorburn set a record for most penalty minutes in Thrashers/Jets history, while also working his way to fourth in the all-time games played category. Thorburn later signed with St. Louis, where he went on to win the Stanley Cup, receiving it fourth on the team for his individual lap around the rink.
“Thank you to my mom and dad, my brothers, Joey and Mark, and my sisters, Kathleen and Melanie, for your sacrifices and support, which allowed me to chase my childhood dream… Out of all the great teammates that I’ve had throughout my career, you are my favorite. Thank you for everything! It was an unbelievable ride with a storybook ending. As tough as it is to close this chapter, I am excited for the new adventures ahead for myself and my family.”