Chris Kunitz has called it a playing career, but true to form the hard worker already has a gig lined up with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Forward Chris Kunitz announced his retirement following 15 seasons in the @NHL. Congrats on an incredible playing career Kuni!— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) July 30, 2019
Kunitz now joins the Blackhawks hockey ops department as Player Development Adviser, assisting Chicago's coaching staff as well as the @goicehogs staff! pic.twitter.com/PyypVzb469
The Penguins also recognized the end of this fabulous career with a nod to all Kunitz’s accomplishments.
4 Stanley Cups.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) July 30, 2019
3 in Pittsburgh.
2OT goal we'll never forget.
1 incredible career.
Congratulations on your retirement, Kuni! pic.twitter.com/55X4Xi8GIV
Congratulations to Chris Kunitz on an incredible 15-year career!— Penguins PR (@PenguinsPR) July 30, 2019
Kunitz ranks ninth in goals (169) and 14th in points (388) in @penguins history. He is also one of five players to win three Stanley Cups with the franchise. pic.twitter.com/EVgMO9ZgIK
The man did pretty much nothing but win!
We’ll have more on Kunitz’s career and time with the Pens later on, but one thing I wanted to share was just the story of perseverance. In the fall of 2005 Kunitz was 26 years old. He wasn’t drafted. Anaheim waived him with a career NHL stat-line of 21 games, no goals. The lowly Atlanta Thrashers claimed him. Played him two games. No points. Waived him.
That could have been it, or a tough way to carve out any sort of meaningful career. Anaheim reclaimed him and Kunitz went on to have a pretty good 2005-06 (41 points in 67 games with the Ducks), then settled on one of their top lines and was instrumental in helping with their Stanley Cup in 2007. And just like that he was a made man.
Looking back on Kunitz’s career it seems all very charmed and accomplished, but back towards the fall of 2005 he was basically going no where fast. Getting waived by a team like the Thrashers has to be a career-low point. But he kept at it and made the most of an opportunity, which I think is something to take in any aspect of life. So that’s one thing that I think Chris Kunitz should be remembered for, in addition to all the big goals and assists and hits and wins over the years. He carved out one of the more unique and best careers imaginable, and against all odds too. It was a pleasure to watch.