April 20, 2024

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Joonas Donskoi, 31, Declares Retirement from NHL

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Joonas Donskoi, aged 31, has chosen to conclude his NHL and professional hockey career due to concerns related to concussions.

In an announcement shared on Instagram on Sunday, Donskoi disclosed his retirement decision. The right winger’s final NHL game took place on May 1, 2022. Having encountered a concussion during the pre-season, the Seattle Kraken forward sat out the entire 2022-23 season, which marked the conclusion of his four-year contract.

“It is an incredibly difficult decision to move on from something you have devoted your entire life to, but I believe it is the right choice for my own health and future,” Donskoi expressed in a statement. “I was able to live my dream of being an NHL player, and I am truly fortunate and appreciative of that opportunity. I believe I reached my personal potential, which was always my foremost objective.”

Hailing from Raahe, Finland, Donskoi wraps up his NHL career with 80 goals and 128 points, totaling 208 points across 474 career games with stints at the San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, and Kraken. He also participated in playoffs during six of his seven seasons, contributing 15 goals and 32 points in 69 post-season games with both the Sharks and Avalanche.

“It has been an honor to be part of these three exceptional organizations, cities, and fan communities,” Donskoi conveyed. “To all my teammates, coaches, trainers, medical staff, front offices, and fans: I extend my heartfelt gratitude for the best years of my life. I have forged numerous friendships and bonds, both on and off the ice.”

Joonas Donskoi, 31, Declares Retirement from NHL

Despite starting his professional journey with the Sharks over four seasons, Donskoi was drafted by the Florida Panthers in the fourth round (99th overall) of the 2010 NHL draft. Following five seasons in Finland’s Liiga with Karpat, he signed as a free agent with the San Jose Sharks in 2015. During his tenure with the Sharks from 2015-16 to 2018-19, Donskoi notably secured the sixth-highest point total on the team, amassing 122 points.

Donskoi’s closest brush with capturing the Stanley Cup came in his debut season, contributing 12 points during the Sharks’ 2016 journey to the final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Although Pittsburgh emerged victorious in six games, Donskoi played a pivotal role by scoring the overtime-winning goal in Game 3, granting the Sharks their first-ever Cup final triumph in franchise history.

On the global stage, Donskoi represented Team Finland in various competitions, including the U-17, U-18, World Junior Championship, and World Championship levels. He clinched a bronze medal at the 2009-10 World Men’s Under-18 tournament.

As he embarks on his new chapter, Donskoi expressed gratitude to his agent, Stephen Bartlett, and reserved his final words of appreciation for his family.

“Devin, my wife, thank you – I cannot imagine my journey without you,” he acknowledged. “Through countless challenges, you have steadfastly supported me and stood by my side every day.”

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