We suspected it was coming, but in the last few seconds, it was confirmed.
The Montreal Canadiens released a touching letter written by Paul Byron, addressed to the fans of the Montreal Canadiens.
Byron is retiring, and evidently, it's making him extremely emotional. This guy loves hockey.
Here's a part of his statement:
After many months of processing what is best for my health and the future of my family, I have decided to retire as a professional hockey player. Through many extended attempts of rehabilitation, therapy, visiting and speaking to different doctors, and trying everything to make it back to the game I love, the decision had become clear. For my whole life I was able to overcome odds and prove people wrong. For a long time, I held up hope that I could do it one more time, which in turn has made this decision so difficult. But the reality is, I can no longer train, skate, or push myself to the level required to be a professional hockey player due to injuries suffered during my last game and seasons prior. As hard as it is to accept that reality, I can't help but feel incredibly grateful and proud of my career. If you would have told me that this would be my life and career path as a kid and even into my early and mid-twenties, I wouldn't have believed you.
As I reflect, it's hard imagining how I went from playing Junior B hockey to being an assistant captain of the Montreal Canadiens. I still don't quite understand, but through hard work, belief, dedication, and a very high competition level, I was able to achieve a career many people doubted from the time I was a young player. I've also been very fortunate to have had some amazing people help me out through my journey and I'd like to thank everyone who's either helped me grow as player or as a person on and off the ice.
To all my past teammates, coaches, trainers, equipment managers, and staff throughout many teams and organizations over my career, thank you for all your time, commitment, work and for the memories we've shared together. I've been so fortunate to have met so many great people who have made playing professional hockey such an amazing experience. All the games, flights, bus rides, practices, rookie and training camps, meals on the road, I am truly grateful for the relationships and friendships built.
To the Gatineau Olympiques organization, Benoit Groulx and Charlie Henry, thank you for finding a small kid in Ottawa playing Junior B, and giving him the chance to play major junior. When no one else in Ontario believed I could succeed due to my size, our conversation in my parents' living room forever changed my fate.
To Adam Bracken, everyone at the Fitness Lab, Tony Greco and everyone at Greco fitness, thank you for all the time and work every summer preparing me for professional hockey and helping build a fitness foundation which allowed me to play at the NHL level despite my small stature.