Roberto Luongo retired from the National Hockey League today.
At the ripe old age of 40, Roberto Luongo made the decision official via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon. Of course, Lou had to add humor into the announcement:
I’ve decided to take my talents to a South Beach retirement home ✌🏼 pic.twitter.com/BTuZIo8XT8
— Strombone (@strombone1) June 26, 2019
Luongo’s illustrious career spanned 20 NHL seasons in which he amassed 489 wins, which ranks as 4th all-time and just one win behind Curtis Joseph for 3rd.
Roberto Luongo’s career is one that has come full circle. Drafted into the league at 4th overall by the New York Islanders at the 1997 NHL draft, Luongo only played 24 games on the island before being shipped to the Florida Panthers.
He spent five seasons playing in the Sunrise state, from 2000-01 til 2005-06, in which he never was able to break out as the NHL superstar that we know him to be today. A change of scenery was definitely needed and that came in the form of a June 23rd, 2006 trade that saw Luongo become a member of the Vancouver Canucks.
Roberto Luongo’s Impact
The impact was immediate for both the Canucks and Luongo. In his first full season on Canada’s west coast, Lou posted a career-high 47 wins in 76 games. From here it would only get better. Although he would never reach that 47 win mark again, it was in Vancouver where Luongo would establish himself as one of the greatest goalies of all-time.
By the time the 2010 Olympics arrived in Vancouver, Luongo was considered one of the top goalies in the league. It was a no-brainer that the Montreal native would be the starting goaltender for the host Canadian team.
Luongo would play the majority of games throughout the tourney, even with Martin Brodeur, serving as backup, and lead the Canadians to one of the greatest hockey moments of all-time, defeating the Americans in overtime to win gold.
The following year was arguably just as impactful as the Olympic Gold Medal win, as Luongo led the Canucks to their first Stanley Cup Final since 1994. The Boston Bruins were the opponent and, at one point, the Canucks held a 3-2 lead in the series. Unfortunately for Luongo, the Bruins would storm back and win the series in seven games. A loss that would trigger the infamous Vancouver Stanley Cup riots.
After the disappointing finals loss, things started to come apart for Luongo in Vancouver. His contract was seen as a massive overpayment and there was growing pressure on the organization to move it. Two seasons would pass with drama before things would finally be reverted to where it all began; a trade back to Florida occurring on March 4th, 2014.
Roberto Luongo Loves Florida
Luongo’s love affair with Florida is something that we hadn’t seen in the NHL. He was more than just a goaltender for most around the Panthers organization. Luongo’s family adored the region and were active members of the community. With the pressures of his contract finally gone, Luongo played out the remainder of his career in relative peace. However, as age caught up to him, it was apparent that retirement was only so far away.
Roberto Luongo has been a staple in the National Hockey League since the moment he was drafted. He won’t only be remembered as one of the league’s finest goaltenders, but also as one of the greatest personalities in all of sports.
Let’s hope the folks over at that South Beach Retirement Home treat “Louuuuuuu” with plenty of respect.