Veteran NHL defenseman Ben Lovejoy is calling it a career.
Lovejoy, 35, annnounced his retirement during a Wednesday evening appearance on NHL Network. He endured a long road to the NHL, turning pro in 2007 after four years of college hockey with Boston College and Dartmouth as an undrafted free agent. Lovejoy made his NHL debut on Dec. 8, 2008, but bounced back and forth between the Penguins and Pittsburgh’s AHL club until he was traded to Anaheim in 2013.
MORE: NHL free-agency tracker
The right-shot defenseman spent parts of two seasons with the Ducks before he was sent back to Pittsburgh, where he featured on the Penguins’ 2016 Stanley Cup-winning roster. Lovejoy played 17:46 minutes per 24 postseason contests that spring, contributing two goals and four assists along the way. After winning the Cup, he signed with the Devils in 2016 and was traded to the Stars on Feb. 23 in exchange for defenseman Connor Carrick and a third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft (New Jersey selected forward Graham Clarke with the pick).
Beyond Lovejoy’s NHL success, his career is notable for his 2017 pledge to donate his brain to concussion research in partnership with the Concussion Legacy Foundation, one of the leading research organizations on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that can only be diagnosed posthumously. Lovejoy was the first active NHL player to pledge to donate his brain to concussion research, and as of this spring, he said he intends on keeping that promise.
In celebration of Lovejoy’s career, here’s a look back at his first pro goal, which came on March 12, 2008. Congrats on a great run, Ben. pic.twitter.com/rU6O2hw8Ac
– WBS Penguins (@WBSPenguins) August 29, 2019
“This game has given me everything,” Lovejoy told The Athletic’s Josh Cooper in March. “I’m so lucky to play in the NHL. I’ve had very little brain trauma throughout my career but I do think it’s important for the game to continue to get safer and I think that you do that by science and by research and this is me doing my small part.”
The Concord, N.H., native played 544 games over an 11-year NHL career, scoring 20 goals and 101 points total.