Shawn Horcoff is calling it a career, at least on the ice. The 15-year NHL veteran is set to retire, but will continue to stick around the game of hockey as an employee of the Detroit Red Wings. As first reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the 37-year-old forward will now take on a player development role within the Red Wings organization.
Although Horcoff never played for Detroit, he does call Michigan home and is a former captain and point-per-game player for Michigan State University. The transition from pro player to a coaching capacity will only involve a quick drive down the street. Known for his cerebral play-making, two-way ability, and hockey sense, Horcoff will be a valuable asset for the Red Wings, as they look to develop the next generation of talented forwards.
With over one thousand NHL games in hand, Horcoff retires with quite the successful career. Nowhere was his impact felt more than in Edmonton. A late-round pick by the Oilers in 1998, the swift center worked his way into the lineup in 2000-01 and scored 16 points in 49 games, making an unexpected contribution to Edmonton’s success and playoff contention. His numbers would increase year-by-year, as Horcoff became a vital part of the Oilers core. His best season came in 2005-06 when he put up 73 points in 79 games, including a whopping 51 assists, then added 19 more points as Edmonton shocked the hockey world with a run to the Stanley Cup final.
Horcoff continued to put up consistent points over the next few years in Edmonton, with three straight 50+ point seasons, but his numbers began to tail off after his age-30 season in 2008-09. After four more relatively disappointing seasons leading a more recognizable bottom-dwelling Oilers team, Horcoff was traded to the Dallas Stars before the 2013-14 season. After two more middling seasons in Dallas, Horcoff signed a one-year pact with Anaheim last season, but put up the worst numbers of his career.
Having played out a successful NHL run, Horcoff has likely chosen the correct route, taking up a new role in hockey rather than trying to extend a playing career that has been on the downturn for some time. With undeniable hockey intelligence and a vast set of skills, including a leadership ability that made him captain in Edmonton, Horcoff seems likely to be very successful in his development role with the Red Wings, and once again has a bright future in hockey.