Canadian goaltender Roberto Luongo, the third winningest goalie in NHL history, only trailing Hall of Famers Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy, today announced his retirement from professional hockey at the age of 40.
The #4 pick of the 1997 NHL Draft by the New York Islanders, Luongo would spend just one season on Long Island before stunningly being traded to the Florida Panthers at the 2000 NHL Draft. Luongo shone in his five seasons with the upstart Panthers, averaging a .920 save percentage despite four of five seasons being losing affairs. Luongo was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in 2006, averaging a .918 save percentage and racking up seven winning seasons, coming within a game of the Stanley Cup in the 2011 Finals against Boston. Desiring to return to South Beach, Luongo returned to the Panthers in 2014, backstopping the Panthers for his final six seasons. Luongo retires as a six time All Star, Jennings Trophy winner, third all time in wins (489) and second all time in games played (1044), and held the unique distinction of being the first goalie to serve as team captain in 60 years while wearing the “C” in Vancouver from 2008-10.
Luongo first suited up for Team Canada at the 1998 World Juniors, returning as starter in 1999 where he led the team to Silver. He first joined the senior team at the 2001 World Championship, marking his first of four World Championships, medalling in his next three tournaments with Gold (2003, 2004) and Silver (2005), and he would also capture Gold at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. Luongo’s final three appearances for Team Canada would be at the Olympics, first as a backup at the 2006 Turin Games, but then emerging past Brodeur as the starter for the 2010 Vancouver Games, where he led Canada to Gold in a thrilling final against the United States. Luongo would return as a backup at the 2014 Sochi Games, again capturing Gold.
Winning the IHLC at his first international tournament in 1997, Luongo would capture the title a total of ten times, with six of those reigns coming between 2003-05 alone, his final two at the Vancouver and Sochi Olympics, respectively. We wish Roberto and his family the very best for his retirement and the things to come!
Photo Credit: Getty Images – IIHF – HHOF – IOC