Following 12 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL), Montreal Canadiens player Paul Byron is officially retiring as a pro hockey player. Byron, who proudly sported a number 41 Habs jersey, released a statement on Wednesday, September 20, detailing his decision to step away from playing the sport professionally.
"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," Byron wrote.
Byron missed all of last season, which was the final year of his contract, due to hip issues that required the Habs player to undergo surgery. Prior to his announcement, Bryon was an unrestricted free agent, and while he will no longer play professional ice hockey, the athlete will remain involved in the NHL as a player development consultant.
"For a long time, I held up hope that I could do it one more time, which in turn 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," he continued.
Byron, who is 34 years old, played 521 career NHL games with 98 goals and 110 assists. He played 383 of those games with the Montreal Canadiens, who acquired him off of waivers from the Calgary Flames.
"I can't help by feel incredibly grateful and proud of my career," Byron said. A sentiment he feels about getting the opportunity to wear the Canadiens jersey all these years. "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."
Byron went on to thank his past teammates, coaches, trainers, and equipment managers, as well as the Gatineau Olympiques organization, the Montreal Canadiens organization, Marc Bergevin and the Molson family.
"I can't thank you enough for everything over the last eight years. Getting claimed on waivers changed my life and career. I'll forever be grateful for that. Eights years in one place is a long time in the hockey world, and the rink was a second home," he said.
Geoff Molson, owner, president and CEO of the Canadiens also issued a statement following Byron's announcement. "A major contributor both on and off the ice, Paul epitomizes what it means to be a Montreal Canadien. Through his leadership, his kindness and his presence in the community, Paul has left his mark during his seven seasons in Montreal," Molson said.
Byron ended his statement by thanking those most important to the game, the fans. "Without the fans, none of us would be able to have this dream and live it out."
Hockey fans were quick to share their thoughts regarding Byron's decision to step away from playing professional ice hockey. Comments have poured in below Byron's statement on Instagram with many extending their love and gratitude to the player.
"Paul Byron will always be in our hearts," one fan wrote. "Gave it his all every shift and was the nicest guy ever! Habs legend, thanks Paul!" another wrote.
"You’re the best Paul. Congratulations on a well-earned retirement. Now to Geoff [Molson] and the rest of the org: hire this man!" another user commented. Luckily for them, the NHL is, in fact, keeping Byron on, so his hockey prowess will still be on full display, just in a different way moving forward.
Who is Paul Byron?
Paul Byron is a forward player for the Montreal Canadiens (#41). Byron was born in Ottawa and was first drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the sixth round (179th overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Byron then made his NHL debut with the Sabres in 2011 before a trade had him sent over to play for the Calgary Flames.
In 2015, Byron became a restricted free agent under the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement. Byron was then acquired off waivers from the Calgary Flames by the Montreal Canadiens.
Byron is married to wife, Sarah Leblond. The duo share a son (Brysen) and a daughter (Elianna) together.
What number is Paul Byron?
Paul Byron was #41 with the Montreal Canadiens.
What happened to Paul Byron?
Paul Byron continues to deal with hip issues, which he underwent surgery for back in June 2021. Following his injury, many hockey fans grew concerned that the hockey star might have to drop out of playing for good. Flash forward to September 2023, and Byron's past injury is the reason behind his decision to retire.
What is Paul Byron's salary?
According to CapFriendly, a website that specializes in the business aspect of the National Hockey League, Byron has signed a total of seven contracts worth a total value of $21,468,500.
Is Paul Byron still in the NHL?
No. As of September 20, 2023, Paul Byron has officially retired from the National Hockey League as a pro ice hockey player. Byron will, however, remain part of the NHL. The former Habs player will return as a player development consultant for the Montreal Canadiens.
What is the salary cap for the Habs 2023?
From $82.5 million for the 2022-34 season, the projection for the upper limit of the salary cap is over $89 million for 2023-24, per CapFriendly.
What's the oldest NHL team?
Known as the original six hockey teams: the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks, and the Detroit Red Wings are recognized as the oldest teams in the National Hockey League.
Which NHL team has the highest payroll?
In 2022-23, the Tampa Bay Lightning have the highest cash payroll at $115,826,905, per CapFriendly.
Who is the highest paid player on the Montreal Canadiens?
According to CapFriendly, when it comes to the highest-paid player on the Habs, Goalie Carey Price remains the highest-paid player in franchise history with an annual salary-cap hit of $10.5 million.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.