Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook reflects on 15-year NHL career: 'I gave it all I had'

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Charlie Roumeliotis
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Seabrook on Blackhawks career: 'I gave it all I had' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Brent Seabrook was determined to continue his playing career despite undergoing three major surgeries in early 2020 on both his hips and right shoulder. Heck, he did everything he could to try joining his team for their postseason run in Edmonton but his body wasn't quite ready yet. The fact he was even on the ice for training camp was a testament to his character.

After going through a rigorous offseason rehab, Seabrook felt as ready as ever to fight for his spot on the Blackhawks' roster. Until his body betrayed him again.

"It was the Monday before Christmas I woke up and I couldn't walk and I had no idea why," Seabrook said. "And it's been like that ever since."

The Blackhawks were coy about Seabrook's status all season, only saying he had been skating on and off. Seabrook gave it one final crack on Saturday by practicing with the taxi squad but couldn't go more than five minutes without his hip locking up. The next morning he woke up and came to the conclusion that it's time to hang it up.

Seabrook made the news official on Friday, announcing that his playing career is over after 15 NHL seasons.

"I don't know if it was a decision I made or my body made for me," Seabrook said. "I told my body to screw off for 15 years and it finally turned around and said, 'Well, I'm not going to do it anymore.'"

Seabrook is the ultimate warrior and everyone in Chicago knows it. He ranks third in franchise history in games played (1,114), second in postseason minutes (3,057:59) and first in playoff goals (20) among defensemen. He was one of the leaders and backbone of the Blackhawks' three Stanley Cup runs and there was nothing left for No. 7 to prove.

"I’m incredibly proud of my career," Seabrook said. "I got to play with a tremendous group of players for the best organization in sports. When I first got here, we weren’t the Blackhawks you see now or through the early part of the decade. It was fun to be a part of that group that brought this franchise back up to the top. I wouldn’t change anything for anything. I gave it all I had."

The competitive fire clearly still burns in Seabrook's belly. He wouldn't have worked so hard in the offseason if he didn't feel like he had more to give. But, physically, his body was breaking down and it didn't allow him to play at the level he's used to.

Seabrook is excited about the next chapter of his career, which he hopes one day could be a role within the Blackhawks organization. But he's going to step away for a little bit, spent time with his family and reflect on his career before doing so.

"There’s a lot of things I’m going to miss," Seabrook said. "Obviously, I love to play the game. I love to compete. I love the grind of the day-to-day. I love the process of getting ready to play. I love being around the guys when we feel crappy and everybody pulling on the same rope trying to get a win that next night. I love the feeling that you have when you come to the rink and you feel like Superman. All that kind of stuff.

"But I think the big thing I’m going to miss is getting up in the morning and coming to the rink, and just being around the guys, being around the trainers. That’s the best part of hockey is being around the boys and having fun and going through it together. The little things, I know I’ve given a lot of guys s**t over the years and media and trainers and teammates, but I always liked having fun and I always looked at it as having fun. It was just sort of, I guess, how I went through the day. It was fun.

"I like the new guys coming in and meeting new guys, and guys from different cultures and backgrounds and understanding what made them tick. I’m just going to miss it all."

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