Back in April, veteran goalie Peter Budaj announced his retirement.
In a career that spanned from 2005-2019, Budaj tallied 368 total games while playing for the Avalanche, Canadiens, Lightning and Kings. Along those stops, he put together a 158-132 record and in the twilight of his career, became the Ontario Reign's winningest goalie.
Budaj's first stint for the Kings was from 2015-2017, where in 54 games, he went 28-20-3 and had a 2.15 GAA and seven shutouts. He also posted a crazy 42-14-5 record with the Ontario Reign in the 2015-16 with a 1.75 GAA and a .932 save percentage and nine shutouts.
[Image from NHL.com]
Why am I writing about Budaj?
Earlier today, the Kings posted a nice writeup about his career and retirement plans.
I was a fan of Budaj throughout his career and found this article really refreshing. He always struck me as "just a dude" and seemed like a true professional. One of those guys who went out and did his job. The article kind of confirms that for me.
It's always cool when players retire and want to pursue other interests. It's just as cool when guys hang 'em up and want to stick around the game and pass their knowledge on to another generation. Reading about his plans for youth coaching and mentorship is awesome - in Montana to boot.
In a lot of ways, Budaj went the route a lot of guys should: carve your path, know your role (as the Rock says) and when it's time, step aside for the guys coming up behind you and do what you can to help equip them for their journey. Now he gets to enjoy the fruits of his labor with is family.
Here's an awesome video of him (at 34) fighting his way back to the NHL to fill in for an injured Jonathan Quick...I absolutely loved that plain white mask when debuting with the Reign.
I hope you guys find some inspiration from his career and words. If anything, maybe it'll fill that hockeyless void we've all been feeling...