Battling back problems for several years which required three surgeries, the 33-year-old Martin Hanzal has officially retired from the NHL, nearly two years after playing his final game.
Martin Hanzal’s first surgery on his back was in July 2008 to repair a herniated disk. Seven years later, he was under the knife again and then again had spinal fusion surgery in March of 2018. Hanzal had pondered whether or not to continue playing for quite some time and clearly would still play if healthy. But after taking nearly a year to get back on the ice following his spinal surgery, he knew the time was right to hang up his skates.
Martin Hanzal was the 17th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft by the Phoenix Coyotes. Over 12 seasons, Hanzal tallied 127 goals and 211 assists. He spent nine and a half seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, 20 games with the Minnesota Wild and 45 games over parts of two seasons with the Dallas Stars. Although not an overall powerhouse goal-scorer, Hanzal recorded a hat trick in just a little over a period on December 4, 2008 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Although retired from the NHL, Hanzal remains involved in the game, as he and his brother founded a semipro team in the Czech Republic. Once in the blood, always in the blood, Martin Hanzal occasionally laces up the skates and plays on the team with few of his former NHL teammates.
Hanzal routinely skates with his 8-year old son and although wishes he could have played longer in order for his kids to watch him play, is at peace with his decision to move on to the next phase of his life. After all, Hanzal’s kids can always see their dad in action in video, seeing the kind of player that he was once. Martin Hanzal is happy with his career, and deservingly so.