After his father, Pierre Gagne, passed away on Dec. 26 following a battle with liver cancer, Simon Gagne has decided he will not return to the Boston Bruins this season.
Gagne left the team on Dec. 10 to be with his ailing father, and had not played since. The news came on Monday afternoon that Gagne has decided not return to the team, citing that he cannot give the team his all at this time. The Bruins have changed Gagne’s status to that of a suspended player.
“The last month has been extremely difficult for me with my father being sick and his passing,” said Gagne in a release from the Bruins. “To play in the NHL you have to be 100% mentally, emotionally and physically committed to the game. At this time I know that I cannot be close to those levels. The Bruins organization and my teammates have been great to my family and I during this time. When I decided not to return this season, I spoke to Peter and assured him that I did not want the organization or my teammates to be impacted. Together we made the decision that my status would be changed so that the team could have a full active roster.”
Gagne also extended a heartfelt thank you to the NHL and its fan for their support for him during this difficult time.
Boston signed Gagne back on Oct. 14 to a one-year deal worth $600,000 after the veteran forward impressed Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and staff. At the time of his signing, Gagne didn’t quite know what his role would be, telling NHL.com’s Matt Kalman that he was willing to play in whatever role the Bruins were looking for.
In 23 games with the Bruins, Gagne had three goals and four points. The Philadelphia Flyers drafted Gagne in the first round, 22nd overall, of the 1998 draft, and he was a staple of the Flyers lineup until 2009-10, when he helped the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final. His best season came in 2005-06 when he tallied 47 goals and 79 points for the Flyers.
In 822 career games, Gagne has 291 goals and 601 points.