In some surprising news on Sunday, the Rockford IceHogs announced they have mutually parted ways with captain Kris Versteeg. The 33-year-old veteran asked for the release earlier this week, was asked to sleep on it for a couple days and made the final decision on Saturday. Versteeg’s won two Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks but made his return with the IceHogs last April when he signed a one-year AHL contract. Since his return, he’s had just one assist in six games.
Versteeg says his multiple injuries over the span of his 14-year career are what pushed him to leave. The injuries took a more mental toll on him, rather than physical. Versteeg reinjured his abductor in a game against the Chicago Wolves in October, was out for three games and came back to play two more earlier this month. He felt different though. It’s ultimately what helped him make his final decision on leaving.
“I came back and I was feeling good but… I couldn’t match the intensity that these kids were bringing everyday,” Versteeg said. “I didn’t feel [it.] To me, not being able to do that is a disservice to them because that’s kind of how I’ve always played my game, was intense and playing at a high level, so.”
Versteeg added he still hopes to play in this year’s Spengler Cup with his younger brother, Mitch. After that, he’s officially calling it a career.
As far as what would be next, Versteeg thinks he’d be interested in broadcasting.