On Wednesday, former National Hockey League forward Peter Holland announced his retirement from professional hockey. Opting to go out on his own terms, the 31-year-old Toronto, ON. product most recently suited up in NHL action during the 2017-18 season. He most recently played in Russia and Sweden within the KHL and SHL.
Drafted 15th overall by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Holland put up 36 goals and 49 assists in 266 career regular season games for the Ducks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Arizona Coyotes and New York Rangers. But as he wrote in his farewell letter, the chance to play for his hometown team in Toronto was the pinnacle of his playing career.
Holland’s full retirement announcement is provided below, as taken from his 18-tweet, Twitter thread:
“I have decided to step away from the game of hockey. It feels weird to say retire, but I guess that’s what it is.
I’m not sure if a Twitter thread is an appropriate forum to announce this but when you were a bubble guy, there’s no press conference, banner raising, or puck drop at centre ice.
So here it is:
It’s strange to think that something which has been a part of me since before I can remember will no longer be a part of my future. This was not an easy decision, but in order to be honest with myself, it was time to confront the reality that hockey had become unenjoyable for me. I was no longer committed to getting better and therefore I was getting worse. It was an unsustainable trajectory not only for my career but also for my mental health, and therefore it was better to stop altogether.
Also, life comes at you fast! With a young family of my own, having to pack up and move every 6 or 8 months, being away from extended family (sometimes 10 hours apart) – it just wasn’t worth it anymore.
But perhaps most importantly,
I’m doing it on my own terms with my health – something not to be taken for granted. Especially after playing a highly competitive and physical game professionally for over a decade. Not to mention the 15 years before that.
Admittedly, my passion for the game really fell off a cliff the moment I was traded out of Toronto. I could never rekindle that spark I had when wearing a Leaf jersey. It was like my hockey path was always destined to allow me to wear my boyhood colours; the blue and white. And wow, am I ever blessed to have gotten that opportunity. Once that was over, it was as though I had accomplished the pinnacle of all my hopes and dreams. Did I dream of hoisting a Stanley Cup? Heck yeah! But as a boy – to even make it to the NHL was a long shot. So what are the odds I got to play for “my” team too? There’s some things in this world which you just can’t explain.
And now it’s time to move on to the next chapter; where I can put my education, zest for knowledge, and passion towards a new endeavour – closer to family.
I’ve already expressed my sincerest thanks and gratitude to my family so I don’t need to do that again here, but I did want to thank each and every one of you for supporting and following my hockey career. Our potential social impact as players was something I never took lightly, and I always tried to represent my family, my team, and the community in a positive light.
In fact, one of the things I am most proud of from my playing days was my willingness to get involved in the community. None more special than visiting and contributing to SickKids Hospital Toronto. I’m sure I got more out of those visits than the kids.
Some things I know for certain: I always tried my best; I cared deeply about my team; I wanted to win for everyone in the dressing room, as well as everyone in the stands (especially everyone in the top bowl!); and most of all I cared about being a good teammate.
With that said, I want to extend a HUGE thanks to all my teammates, equipment staff, and all the team personnel who made the day-to-day operations tick – I see you guys too! I have made some life long friendships from this game, both players and staff, and for that I am eternally grateful.
A thank you to all my coaches and GMs. Although not all of our relationships were equal, even the ones where we butted heads, I know there were meetings I wasn’t involved in where you went to bat for me and helped give me an opportunity to live and continue living my dream. So thank you.
Last but certainly not least, Thanks to you: the fans, the critics, and the media. The combination of you all makes this crazy sport of hockey worth playing.
I’ll never forget the feeling of coming out of the tunnel onto a fresh sheet of ice, with the potential to bring each and every one of you out of your seat with a good play, hit, fight, or goal. It was an honour to provide you some entertainment and let you escape from your day-to-day lives if even for just a few moments.
Finally, if I can offer any advice to parents of young hockey players out there; let them decide how much they want to play. I played multiple sports growing up – It was never just hockey. I played flag football, basketball, volleyball, competed in track and field, golf and competitive soccer. I truly believe I loved hockey as long as I did because I didn’t burn out of it. If your kids are lucky enough for hockey to become a job that’s great – But I promise they’ll miss the days when it wasn’t!
That’s it. Thanks for reading and taking part in my Twitter retirement press conference.
I wish all of you the best and I look forward to enjoying this game from the stands again! See you around the rinks.”