During his fruitful career of 15 seasons, Chris Kunitz held the Stanley Cup four times. Now he announced his retirement from playing and has been hired to assist with player development by the Chicago Blackhawks.
A Successful Professional Career
In 2003 Kunitz was undrafted and then signed with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim as a free agent. At that stage, he had 619 points from 268 goals and 351 assists. He played 1 022 games in National Hockey League for various teams. These included the Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Atlanta Thrashers, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks. During his career, he won 96 points from 27 goals and 66 assists in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He was part of the Stanley Cup Winning teams during his career at the Ducks in 2007 as well as with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009, 2016 and also 2017. During last season Kunitz played 56 games for the Blackhawks ending up with 10 points from five goals and five assists. Except for the four Stanley Cups, Kunitz also received an Olympic Gold Medal playing for Canada in 2014. During the shortened lockout season of 2013, Kunitz was named for the All-Star team. He also finished 16th that year in the Hart voting and 14th in Selke voting. During 2017 he scored his most important goal during double-overtime during Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. With this goal, he sent the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup Final. It was then when they defeated the Nashville Predators during six games.
The New Role
Head Coach for the Blackhawks, Jeremy Colliton, expressed his excitement to have Kunitz moving into his new career at the team. Not only does he feel that Kunitz is an extremely professional player, but also a valuable contribution in different regards. Colliton realized Kunitz’s potential to assist other younger players into growing into stars while coaching him in the previous season. He stood out as an asset in possible resource development of the team. He is looking forward to the contribution which Kunitz will be able to make to the lives of the players of Rockford.
Kunitz made use of his retirement announcement to express his gratitude for being fortunate enough to have such a great career. He also expressed his gratefulness towards the four great teams which taught him so much about professionalism in the game and the professional league. He felt that they didn’t only extend themselves to him, but also his children. He also mentioned the many coaches, trainers and managers whose work always exemplified the possibilities of the teams they were involved with. His fellow teammates were also mentioned. Kunitz started as a youngster in the league, but his teammates helped him grow into a player which he always dreamt of becoming. Through wisdom, humour and hard work, many friendships were formed.