Brian Rafalski has come out of retirement and will play professional hockey again. Just not in the NHL.
On Thursday the Florida Everblades of the ECHL announced that they have signed the 40-year-old Rafalski, who hasn't played in the NHL since 2010-11 with the Red Wings when a knee issue led him to retire at the age of 37.
However last week in Detroit Rafalski put on the Winged Wheel again for the Alumni Showdown outdoors at Comerica Park and apparently that gave him the itch to play professionally again, thus the deal with the Everblades.
"I'm just excited to get back on the ice again and see where God takes me on this journey," Rafalski said in the Everblades' release.
Rafalski won three Stanley Cups in his career that spanned 830 games between the Devils and Red Wings. He also picked up two silver medals with the US national team at the 2010 and 2002 Olympic Games and was a two-time All-Star in the NHL. Apparently the Kelly Cup is missing from that resume.
Either that or he's looking to get back to the NHL. That's what the Everblades coach told the Detroit Free-Press.
"He played in the Winter Classic alumni game and got the bug," Everblades coach Greg Poss said. "He wants to play in the NHL again."
Undrafted out of the University of Wisconson and Dearborn, Michigan, Rafalski was quite the point-producer throughout his career on the blue line, picking up between 40 and 60 points with regularity throughout his career. Even in his final season he had four goals and 44 assists for the Wings in just 63 games, leaving his contract and the big salary that came with it a year early.
There's no telling where this is going to go for Rafalski at this point and if he will be able to dominate the ECHL at this stage but you have to admit one thing: it is nice to see that he still has the fire to play the game and compete that he's willing to play for ECHL Florida to do it.