Beau Bennett, 2010 first round pick of the Penguins, announced his retirement on twitter yesterday in a heartfelt message.
Bennett became a running gag for his myriad of injuries, but he was a lot more than that too. But, I mean, he once got hurt celebrating a goal he scored, so...Yeah. It was a tough turn for him on the ice more often than not, even when things were going good.
But Bennett is and was more than just a joke, he had immense skill and promise. Bennett scored 120 points in 56 games as an 18-year old in the developmental British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) before moving on to play big time NCAA hockey at the University of Denver, where he scored 25 points in 37 games as a freshman.
After that point, a sophomore wrist injury (where he was up to 13 points in 10 games) really started to knock Bennett off the course and into “what could have been” territory as other injuries continued to plague him throughout his professional career.
History will remember Jake Guentzel as being the winger to blossom into a 40 goal scorer and smooth finisher in the NHL, in a different world that could have been Bennett in such an end point. He had that kind of skill and offensive ability, that unfortunately wasn’t realized in his professional career.
Beyond that, Beau Bennett deserves accolades. I consider him one of the best and kindest people to have worn a Penguin jersey in the past 15 years. He was generous with his time and stature and (along with his good buddy Robert Bortuzzo) was a regular to check in with sick kids at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh while he was a Penguin.
Bennett is the leader or at least up there with all players of his era in signing autographs for kids and fans too and always kept a great sense of humor about his career ups and downs to live up to the nickname of “Sunshine”.
Beau Bennett was and still is the picture of an effortlessly cool California kid. It’s a shame his playing career was ultimately cut short, even though he did manage to play 200 NHL games and play with four different organizations.
Beau Bennett proved to be a really good and talented person who ended up getting a tough hand, yet still retained his spirit coming out the other side. There really is a lot to appreciate from that.
That’s an experience not too many hockey players get, and is one that should be a lasting memory for a lifetime for him but is one we can all look back and celebrate now.
Good for you Beau, and good luck with whatever comes next.