With the OHL season approaching, Owen Sound Attack center Jeff Gilligan announced some gut-wrenching news: he’ll be forced to retire from the game he loves at 19 due to a heart condition.
Gilligan, who was drafted by Owen Sound in the eighth round of the 2012 OHL draft, has spent the past two seasons with the Attack. Sadly, however, his 58-game campaign in 2014-15 will be his last at a competitive level.
“Unfortunately I will no longer be able to play hockey,” Gilligan announced via his Twitter account. “I have been diagnosed with a heart condition that will prevent me from playing. I will miss everything about the game especially the past two years spent in Owen Sound! I wish nothing but the best to the organization and my team mates and I am very thankful for being a part of the team.”
Over his two seasons in Owen Sound, Gilligan suited up for 121 regular season contests and scored 12 goals and 31 points. In the post-season, Gilligan skated for the attack in 10 games, notching one goal and three points.
“Our players safety and well being is always first,” said Attack GM Dale DeGray in a release. “This wasn’t a hockey decision, this was a life decision and Jeffrey has the full support of the Attack organization now and moving forward. He is a great kid and we know he will move on to achieve great things off the ice.”
The exact nature of Gilligan’s condition have not been announced, but he’s not the first player to announce their retirement due to a heart condition. Notably, former Red Wings defenseman Jiri Fischer retired from the game at 25 following a heart condition that caused him to collapse on the Detroit bench during a game.