Defenseman Andrew Alberts signed a one-year, $600,000 contract with the Vancouver Canucks prior to the start of the 2013-14 NHL season. The 32-year-old appeared in only ten games for the Canucks, and his season was cut short after he was knocked out by an elbow from Calgary Flames forward Brian McGrattan, an incident that Alberts believes has effectively ended his professional hockey career.
While Alberts believes McGrattan should have been suspended, he told the Vancouver Sun his focus is on getting healthy enough to get through the day without any lingering concussion symptoms.
I think there should have been some supplemental discipline. If I’m Sidney Crosby, it’s probably a 15-game suspension. The frustrating part is I’m working my ass off trying to be on the team and get in the lineup, something like that happens and the guy gets off free and now here I am just hoping I can have one day without headaches.
I’ve kind of just let it go because there’s no point in dwelling on what happened. I just want to get healthy again to the point where I’m not having issues and can just have a normal day around the house. That’s where my focus is right now.
“If I can’t play hockey again, I can’t play hockey again," he added. "But I’d rather have my health and be able to be with my family and feel like myself. I tend to think about hockey quite a bit because you worry about what you’ll do afterwards.
"But getting healthy is the No. 1 thing for me. Hockey is just one chapter in your life. It has given me a lot of things, but it’s not the be-all, end-all for me.”
Alberts requested to skate on the ice at Rogers Arena prior to the Canucks' regular season finale, with the knowledge that it may never happen again.
“I just wanted to go out there and twirl around because it could be my last time on an NHL sheet," Alberts said.
A sixth-round pick of the Boston Bruins in 2001, Alberts played 459 regular season games, scoring eight goals and adding 47 assists. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent when his contract with the Canucks expires on June 30.