After a decade of professional hockey, San Jose Barracuda captain John McCarthy has announced his retirement. The forward experienced an Ischemic stroke earlier this month and though he has made a complete recovery from that incident, health concerns will end his playing career. McCarthy will immediately join Barracuda coaching staff, starting a new chapter behind the bench. McCarthy released a lengthy statement, explaining that even before the year started he was considering making it his final season:
I went into this year thinking I’m 33-years-old, I’ve been playing for a long time, this could be my last year playing,” said McCarthy. “The Sharks and Barracuda have been great, Joe (Will) and Doug (Wilson) have both been unbelievable to me as far as giving me a chance to play so when I suffered the stroke that decision kind of accelerated for me. It’s not something you can prepare for or see coming so I took some time. I spoke to some people whose opinions I value and, although it’s not out of the question that I could return after an extended period of time, I think it’s a good time for me to step away from playing.
Though he hasn’t played a game in the NHL since the 2015-16 season, it doesn’t mean he wasn’t an important part of the San Jose Sharks organization. A seventh-round pick in 2006, he became the captain of Boston University as a senior in 2008 and made his NHL debut the following season. An extremely hard worker, McCarthy has overcome a lack of real elite skill by polishing his game at both ends of the rink.
In 2018, McCarthy was part of Team USA at the Olympic Games when the NHL decided not to attend the tournament. An NCAA champion, he has served as captain of the Barracuda for the last four seasons and set a strong example for many of the organization’s prospects. He’ll now do the same as part of the coaching staff.