This morning, Justin Williams announced that he will be stepping away from the NHL for this upcoming season of 2019-2020. Williams said:
“This is the first time in my life that I’ve felt unsure of my aspirations with regards to hockey. For as long as I can remember, my whole off-season until this point has been hockey and doing what was necessary to prepare for the upcoming season. Because of my current indecision, and without the type of mental and physical commitment that I’m accustomed to having, I’ve decided to step away from the game.” (x)
I talked earlier this offseason about whether Williams was going to re-sign or retire and I had said resign but you never know what is going on inside a player’s head.
Sometimes when you do the thing you love so much and everyone around you tells you that you love it so much and it’s what you’re made for, you fall out of love with it a bit. It becomes routine and can weigh you down. I don’t blame Williams for wanting to take time off.
You can’t blame someone who has given their all to the sport to take a step back and look at what is next. This isn’t retirement but it’s just a break to look at what his options are from here.
In his 18 years, Williams played in 1,244 games with 786 points (312 G 474 A) and won 3 Stanley Cups along with a Conn Smythe in 2014. A season off can do Williams some good. Physical heath is just as important as mental health and good on him for standing up for what he needs.
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