It's the end of the line for the educated enforcer. George Parros, hockey player, Princeton graduate, and awesome mustache announced his retirement from the NHL at the age of 34. Parros was an unrestricted free agent this summer after spending last season with Montreal.
"It’s been an honor to play in the greatest league in the world. Thanks to the organizations I've had the good fortune to play for, especially to the Samueli and Molson families,” Parros said in a statement provided by the NHLPA. “I've had the most amazing support from all of the fans who have supported my many endeavors throughout my career, for that I am eternally grateful. A final thank you to my parents Jim and Lynne, my wife Tiffany and my children who have made this dream of mine a reality.”
Though Parros often cut a swashbuckling image like the Oakland Raiders logo with his bristling black mustache, he was considered the thinking man's type enforcer, mostly because of his work with the NHLPA and his degree from Princeton, one of the top universities in the world. There he had a 3.16 grade point average and majored in economics.
From a 2013 article in ESPN the Magazine:
"'If I didn't have to fight, I wouldn't,'" he says. "'If I could score goals for a living, I would. It's a lot more fun, and I'd make a lot more money.'"
Also from the piece, which is really an excellent take on Parros and his work:
"Parros has always showed up. He grew up in Morristown, N.J., wanting to be a physical scorer like Eric Lindros. But his size -- he's now 6'5", 224 pounds -- made him a target in juniors, where fighting is allowed, so he saw that he needed to learn how to scrap. Problem was, he had never been in so much as a playground scuffle. So he practiced basic moves -- grabbing the collar, jabbing the chin -- with Jeff, his younger brother."
Sadly, the lasting image we will have of Parros will be him scarily laying face down on the ice after a fight with Colton Orr on Oct. 1, 2013.
He recovered, fought again, his final tussle coming April 10 against the Islanders Brett Gallant, and even tried to resume his career this year according to The Montreal Gazette.
“Make no mistake about it, my No. 1 priority is making it onto an NHL roster,” Parros told The Gazette during an August telephone interview. “This is the longest I’ve ever waited for an offer. I had a tough year … but I’m not sweating it.”
But with the NHL's move away from enforcers, Parros' skill set seemed to become obsolete. Parros finishes his career with 18 goals, 18 assists, and 1,092 penalty minutes and $5.6 million in earnings per CapGeek in 474 games played.
According to the release, Parros is going to live in Las Vegas with his family. Good for him. Not a bad place at all. Happy trails George, and please keep the stache!
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