19-year old Stefan Legein‘s sudden retirement shocked everyone. The Columbus draft pick’s decision to quit hockey not only came as a surprise to the hockey world, but to his parents as well. His mother did not know the news until it was reported in the news, while his father has denied any reports about Legein’s decision to quit. Legein has yet to comment on the situation or make any public announcements. The news was first broken by the Columbus Dispatch. Legein, one of the key players in the Canada-Russia Super Series, was one of the most highly touted prospects in the Columbus system, and was on his way to making it to the big leagues.
While Legein’s decision to quit has been surprising, it’s not unheard of. In 1975, the Canadiens picked defenseman Robin Sadler with the 9th overall pick after having a great season with Edmonton in the WCHL. However, Sadler never played in the NHL or WHA. One week into the Habs’ training camp, Sadler notified the team that he was hanging up his skates, apparently unable to cope with the pressures of NHL training camps, and began a career as a firefighter, forfeiting every single penny of the NHL contract he had just signed. After a two year hiatus, Sadler reappeared in hockey circles once again, being invited to the Oilers’ training camp, yet only to quit one week later, citing emotional stress and eating disorders.
I will be following this story closely, because of the intrigue and mystery that surrounds it. Perhaps Legein’s decision to quit hockey will become less murky in the coming weeks, but for now, it’s left everyone scratching their heads.
EDIT: Legein has until September 12 to change his mind. He needs to be report to training camp in Michigan should he choose to return. Since notifying the Jackets of his premature retirement, they have suspended him but maintain his rights. The Jackets will not be receiving compensation of any kind from the league.
Aaron Portzline at the Columbus Dispatch has more. Apparently the Jackets should’ve seen it coming after Legein’s return from a shoulder injury.
EDIT: Eric Duhatschek has more.