New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk has been forced to retire as a result of a serious eye injury that he suffered during a regular season game in early March. It was the second injury to the same eye.
"I don't even think it was a decision. When you play with it and realize there's something wrong, and then you go and get tests, it really wasn't a decision; it was a life choice, I guess," Boychuk said in a press conference. "If I was to go and play again and not able to see somebody coming and get hit, I could be a lot worse than what I was."
Boychuk got cut across his right eyelid by the skate of Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen back on March 3. The veteran defenseman had to get stitches and plastic surgery due to the incident.
Despite the severe mature of the injury, Boychuk revealed in June that his eye "seems to be almost like 100 percent." It didn't seem as though Boychuk was considering stepping away from the ice.
However, Boychuk underwent "numerous and extensive medical exams" before ultimately making the decision to retire from the game.
"I knew there was something going on, but I didn't really want to think about it because I wanted to play," Boychuk said. "You try to play through everything, and I did. Then when I got the tests done, it was an eye opener, I guess."
"It wasn't really a decision. It was a life choice I guess"
Boychuk spent the final six seasons of his 13-year professional career with the Islanders after being acquired in a trade with the Boston Bruins. During his career, Boychuk tallied 54 goals and 152 assists while registering a +123 plus/minus rating. Boychuk did win a Stanley Cup in 2011 as a member of the Bruins.