South Surrey-raised NHL goaltender Andrew Hammond has called it a career.
The 34-year-old “Hamburglar” announced his retirement from hockey in a screen-shot tweet Monday (Dec. 19), blaming an ankle injury he suffered while playing for Montreal Canadiens last season.
“I won’t be able to make a full recovery,” Hammond posted.
“I’m excited for more time stopping pucks at home with Cal, Carson and Harlow.”
Hammond first signed a NHL contract with Ottawa Senators on St. Patrick’s Day 2013.
“One dream came true,” he wrote. “I was an undrafted free agent signing out of college. I thought things couldn’t get better than that. I was wrong… my career was a series of unbelievable and unexpected memories. I met some of the best people I know and I can honestly say I had the best ‘job’ in the world.”
While in Ottawa, Hammond become a folk hero in 2015 for a long stretch of wins during the team’s improbable run to the playoffs that spring. Senators fans threw hamburgers on the ice in salute to the Hamburglar, who compiled a 20-win, one-loss record in relief of the injured Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner.
The White Rock-born Hammond grew up playing for teams with Semiahmoo Minor Hockey Association and graduated from Earl Marriott Secondary.
“I always was the kid who at age six was begging my parents to take shots on me in the driveway,” Hammond said in 2015. “I was hooked on hockey after that ‘94 Canucks (playoff) run and always dreamed about being in the NHL.”
As a teen he played 32 games for Surrey Eagles and began to doubt whether he wanted to continue playing hockey.
“Things weren’t going for him and he wasn’t playing much, so he was going to hang them up,” Sean Murray, his longtime goaltending coach, said in 2015.
During the 2007-08 season, Hammond was dealt to Vernon Vipers of the BCHL.
“He wasn’t sure he was going to go,” Murray recalled. “I said to him, ‘Just go play, you never know what’s going to happen, right?’ So he went up there and all of a sudden he won the RBC Cup (national championship) with them. He finally got the chance to play, and with a decent team, and he just took off from there.”
Hammond played at Bowling Green State University from 2009 to 2013. During his NHL career, Hammond signed with six teams, including Ottawa, Montreal, Colorado, Buffalo, Minnesota and New Jersey. Over the years he bounced around the AHL minor league, too, and ended his pro days this year with a pair of games in the Russian KHL league, with Traktor Chelyabinsk.
“I would like to thank my wife first and foremost,” Hammond tweeted Monday. “We’ve had probably 20 addresses we’ve called home throughout my career. She’s been there for all of it; good games, bad games and everything in between. I would also like to thank my parents for making the sacrifices along the way that allowed me to live out my dream.”
Appropriately, he signed off with a hamburger emoji.