Adam McQuaid doesn’t know what his NHL future holds.
The former Boston Bruins defenseman wants to put his long-term health first, and that might mean stepping away from the game he’s loved his entire life at the age of 33.
“Ultimately it’s just all about long-term health and getting back to feeling good,” McQuaid said, per CBC News’ Shane Ross. “Sometimes you have to take a step back and think outside of just hockey itself. So that’s kind of where I’m at right now.”
McQuaid is a free agent and hasn’t skated since September when he attended Bruins practice. He spent nine seasons in Boston before being traded to the New York Rangers ahead of the 2018-19 season. McQuaid then was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in February and played in 36 games.
But injuries and concussions have plagued him and he still is dealing with neck and head ailments. McQuaid suffered a concussion last year and missed the Blue Jackets’ playoff run. He’s unsure if his injuries are related to the concussion, but he knows he wants to be 100 percent if he’s going to lace up his skates again.
“I don’t know if it’s the end or not,” McQuaid said, per Ross. “…Of course I miss playing right now and I miss … the competing and the battling and being part of a team, and the camaraderie piece is probably the biggest part that I miss, just being around the guys on a daily basis.
“I don’t ever want, you know, people asking me like, ‘Oh are you done, are you coming back, when are you coming back?’ I don’t have those answers right now,” he added. “Ultimately it would be awesome to get to a point where I’m healthy, I feel great and I’m able to skate and not be limited in any way and get back playing.”
McQuaid has played in 512 games and never was afraid to drop the gloves. But he certainly is doing the right thing by taking care of himself and putting his long-term health above hockey.