Former Griff hangs up the skates

Former Canisius hockey player Shane Conacher retired from professional hockey this week.

Shane Conacher skates the puck over center ice during a game for the Adirondack Thunder. The former Griff retired this week. Photo courtesy of the Adirondack Thunder Twitter.

Former Canisius hockey player Shane Conacher announced his retirement from the professional ranks in an open letter on the Adirondack Thunder’s website on Thursday. 

Conacher played for the Blue and Gold for three seasons between 2013-2016 where he totaled 37 career goals and 69 assists. Conacher is one of 32 Canisius hockey players to collect over 100 points for their career, finishing his time with the Griffs with 106. 

In addition, Conacher had a record-breaking junior season where he was voted All-Atlantic Hockey First Team, becoming just the second Canisius forward to do so at that time, and his six game-winning goals broke a school record and was good for the eighth most in all of Division I. 

Following his career as a Griffin, the Burlington, Ont. native bounced around at the professional level in the Atlantic Hockey League (AHL) and the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), playing for the Toronto Marlies, Syracuse Crunch (AHL), Orlando Solar Bears and finishing his career with the Thunder (ECHL).
Conacher appeared in 98 games over three seasons for the Thunder, scoring 33 goals and tallying 65 assists. 

In January of this year Conacher was diagnosed with cancer, which was a long and hard process of recovery for the 24-year old. Conacher returned to the ice for the start of this season when he went down with a shoulder injury in the first game of the new campaign, prompting the former Griff to hang up the skates. 

“This decision is by far the hardest: after going through what I went through last year and now potentially having to undergo another surgery and endure months of rehab, I have decided to walk away from the game of hockey,” Conacher wrote in his letter. “This game has been my life and now I continue my life without it.  It will definitely be a change but it’s time.”

Conacher’s brother, Cory, is also a Canisius graduate that has appeared in 189 NHL games with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders, and currently plays for the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. 

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