It’s been almost three weeks since Matt Niskanen informed the Flyers that he is retiring from the league.
The question Flyers fans are still wondering – why? What was Matt Niskanen thinking when he suddenly and shockingly announced he is retiring? Was it because he just suddenly lost interest in the game of hockey?
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The answer is the uncertainty of COVID-19 caused Niskanen’s sudden retirement, says his agent according to Sports Illustrated. The 33-year-old former defenseman, understandably, was extremely concerned with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and that led to his retirement from the league.
The upcoming season would’ve been the final year of his contract, and all signs pointed to the Flyers looking to extend his contract. COVID-19 changed all of that. According to his agent, Niskanen didn’t want to isolate away from his wife and two kids. Niskanen married his wife, Katie, in 2014 when he was playing with the Washington Capitals.
It’s completely understandable. The pandemic has shown very little sign of coming to a stop anytime soon, and that puts all sports in a weird position – figuring out how they want to operate their seasons. While it’s unfortunate for the team considering Niskanen was essential to the team’s defense, players’ health and safety always come first and that is something that the entire league emphasizes.
His absence in the upcoming season will definitely be noticeable. Niskanen racked up 33 points in 68 games for the Flyers last season. He is a Stanley Cup Champion, winning the championship back in 2018 when he was a member of the Washington Capitals.
It’s a bit of a sad end to his career knowing that should COVID-19 not be a thing Niskanen would potentially still be playing in the league.
Best of luck goes out to Niskanen and his family.