Former Boston College men’s hockey star and Stanley Cup winning defenseman Brooks Orpik announced his retirement earlier Tuesday morning, hanging up the skates after a lengthy career that began in 2002.
Orpik played for three seasons at Boston College from 1998-2001 and was a key member of the 2001 National Championship team. He was drafted 18th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2000 draft and made his debut with them when he played six games in the 2002-2003 season. He stayed with them until after the 2013-14 season, when he signed a five year, $27.5 million contract with the Washington Capitals. He was briefly traded to Colorado before the 2018-19 season, but the Avalanche quickly bought him out and he resigned with the Capitals as a free agent for his final season.
As a player, Orpik was part of winning teams everywhere he went. In addition to his NCAA Championship with BC, he won two Stanley Cups, one with the Penguins in 2009 and one with the Capitals in 2018. He was also a member of Team USA’s silver medal winning team in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Orpik was never a player who put up many points - he scored just 18 goals in 1,035 regular season games - but always managed to carve himself out roles on competitive teams with championship aspirations. In what remains one of the more remarkable accomplishments in recent memory, Orpik went 220 consecutive games without a goal, a streak the included back-to-back goalless regular seasons in 2016-17 and 2017-18. Naturally, that streak was broken in Game 2 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals against the Vegas Golden Knights, when Orpik scored on a goal that deflected off of another form Eagle, Alex Tuch.
In a league that has seen major stylistic changes in the years since the lockout that saw the cancellation of the 2004-05 season, Orpik was a throwback to a different era of hockey. He was a physical, stay-at-home defenseman who preferred blocking shots to taking them. While certainly not the most glamorous job, Orpik stayed in the league for longer than just about anyone, as he is one of just 373 players all time to skate in more than 1,000 games. He was, by all accounts, a leader in the locker room and a favorite of his teammates, as evidenced by the time he spent as an alternate captain in both Pittsburgh and Washington.
At 38 and with so many miles on his legs, this is a well earned retirement for the former Eagle. Congratulations to Brooks Orpik on a fantastic career and best of luck going forward!