Brandon’s Matt Calvert has been forced to call it quits. Due to a career-ending injury suffered in 2020-21, the 31-year-old forward of the Colorado Avalanche is officially hanging up his skates for good.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play the game I love since I was five years old,” Calvert said in a prepared statement. “I never played to make it to the NHL. I played to compete. I played for my teammates. I played for the fans. I played for my family. I played because I loved to battle, and I played to win. I dreamt of becoming an accountant when I was 18 years old and three years later, I was playing in the NHL.”
In officially announcing his retirement from professional hockey, Calvert walks away following 10 seasons of NHL play, which included 598 total games played (both regular season and playoffs).
“My favourite parts of the ride were the locker room and the fans,” Calvert added. “It wasn’t the same without the fans cheering us on this last year. We feed off of them. The fans make the game special. It was an absolute honour to wear the Columbus Blue Jackets and Colorado Avalanche jerseys throughout my career. I would bleed for those organizations any day.”
Drafted 127th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the fifth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Calvert skated for eight years with Columbus, before choosing to join the Colorado Avalanche in July of 2018. He set a career high in points in his first year with the Avalanche, before only managing 18 games played in 2020-21, due to injury.
He finished with 95 goals and 203 points in 566 regular season games, while adding 17 points in 32 postseason contests.
Calvert’s minor hockey career began in Brandon, to which he was lucky enough to continue playing junior within his hometown. Suiting up for three years of play with the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings, Calvert became a fan favourite, leading the team in scoring with 47 goals in his final year of play in the Wheat City.
One of Calvert’s career highlights was a shorthanded, natural hat trick with the Wheat Kings against the Calgary Hitmen back in 2010. And just one year later, he scored his first career National Hockey League natural hat trick with the Blue Jackets in a February contest with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Calvert currently remains in Brandon, living with his wife, Courtney, and their two sons Kasey and Beau.
“Thank you to the best parents in the world,” he said. “You sacrificed everything to give me the opportunity to play in the National Hockey League. You mean the world to me and I wouldn’t have played a game without you. Thank you to my brothers for pushing me to be the best I could be. Thank you to my beautiful wife Courtney, and my boys Kasey and Beau for being my biggest fans. Thank you to my extended family for all the support. Thank you to every coach and GM that pushed me to be my best. Thank you to the Wagons. Thank you to all the special people I met along the way. What an amazing journey. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have had this opportunity. I look forward to skating on the outdoor rinks with my boys in retirement. I love you all!”
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