Two time Stanley Cup Champion and Captain of our Rockford Icehogs, Kris Versteeg decided it was time to step away from the game. Versteeg and the IceHogs have mutually agreed to terminate his contract.
When he signed on to join Rockford his hope was to help future Blackhawks grow and hopefully make it to Chicago to bring home another Cup. As he explained to the Daily Herald, he was ready for how physical the AHL game is and at 33 didn’t want to risk a long term injury.
What’s next for the former Cup champion? It sounds like hockey will always be a part of his life and that he may be looking into the broadcasting side of the sport.
Over the weekend, Versteeg released this letter that takes us though the roller-coaster that brought him to Chicago and Rockford and also expresses his thanks to both organizations.
“To the Blackhawks organization,
It all started in February 2007, while I was riding a bus with the Providence Bruins. We were on our way to play the Manchester Monarchs when head coach Scott Gordon called me to come see him up at the front of the bus. Scott said “Steeger… I hate to tell you this, but we just traded you.” All I can remember about this moment was that my mind was racing. I couldn’t hear anything but my own thoughts. It was only two weeks prior that we played a team that was loaded with young, exciting, and promising talent. With so many young players I remember saying to one of my teammates after the game “I sure hope I never get traded there.” After a couple minutes I finally asked Scott and said, “to who?” Scott picked up a pen and a piece of paper then wrote…CHICAGO. The team no more than two weeks ago I was dreading at the very thought of being traded to. At this exact moment I remember looking at that paper saying to myself “this is not good!”
What I didn’t know at that moment, is that I was being traded to an organization that would not only give me my first chance, but my second and final chance. I would like to give thanks and show my sincere gratitude to John McDonough, Stan Bowman, Mark Bernard, Al MacIsaac, Jay Blunk, and of course Rocky Wirtz and the entire Wirtz Family. You brought me in that day and gave me a new home. This organization gave me everything that I have today, and for this I am grateful. I, as well, would like to thank all members of the Blackhawks/IceHogs organization from top to bottom, and most importantly… the great fans of Chicago and Rockford.
Little did I know that day when I saw Scott write CHICAGO on that piece of paper that this word would forever be written all over my heart, and soul.
Thank you for everything.