Kimmo Timonen finally got his day with the Stanley Cup on Tuesday, as he brought the prized trophy to his hometown of Kuopio, Finland, to a parade of more than 10,000 well-wishers. It was a momentous occasion, symbolic of the long journey for the veteran defenseman, who sealed his career with the ultimate prize after 16 NHL seasons. Almost his entire 2014-15 season was derailed by blood clots, a harrowing medical situation that threatened to end his playing days prematurely, but after being traded from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Chicago Blackhawks in February, he eventually recovered to appear in 16 regular-season games and 18 games in the postseason. His last was Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, when the Blackhawks beat the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the team’s third Cup in six seasons. It was Timonen’s first, however, and afterward, he did not hesitate about his future. While on the ice while celebrating with the Cup, he announced his intentions to hang up the skates.
He retired as a Stanley Cup champion. Is there any better way to go out? Here are five other players since 2000-01 who also played more than 1,000 NHL games and chose to leave the game in the same fashion.
1. Mark Recchi, Boston Bruins (2011) -- A three-time Stanley Cup champion, Recchi called it quits after earning his third ring, this one with the Boston Bruins. At 43, he became the oldest player to score in a Stanley Cup finals series when he tallied a goal in Game 2 against the Vancouver Canucks. He went on to score twice more in that series, as he became one of a select few players to win three Cups with three teams (He also won with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and Carolina Hurricanes in 2006). Recchi announced his retirement in a postgame television interview after the Bruins dispatched the Canucks. He now works as a player development coach for the Penguins.
2. Dallas Drake, Detroit Red Wings (2008) -- The well-respected veteran was the first person to receive the Cup from Nicklas Lidstrom when the Red Wings prevailed over the Penguins in the Stanley Cup finals in 2008. Drake, who was drafted by Detroit in 1989 (sixth round, 116th overall) and went on to play for the Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes and St. Louis Blues, eventually returned to his original club, signing a one-year deal with the Wings in hopes of winning a championship. He got his wish and announced his retirement the next month, telling reporters in July he was done, just one day before bringing the Cup to his hometown of Rossland, British Columbia.
3. Ken Daneyko, New Jersey Devils (2003) -- Though Daneyko remains with the Devils organization as a television analyst, his career ended more than a decade ago after his third Stanley Cup championship. The rugged, physical defenseman racked up more than 2,500 penalty minutes in 20 NHL seasons, all with the Devils. And he had his No. 3 retired by the Devils in 2006. Scratched for the first six games of the Stanley Cup finals in 2003, he was inserted in the final game of the series, a nod to his career commitment to the franchise and steadfast loyalty to the team, and he was even on the ice during the final shift of the game. Daneyko announced his retirement in July 2003, telling reporters he would have considered continuing to play had the Devils not won the Cup that year.
4. Steve Duchesne, Detroit Red Wings (2002) -- Duchesne was an undrafted defenseman who went on to play for six NHL teams and finished his career with 1,113 games and a Stanley Cup championship with the Red Wings in 2002. Duchesne, a three-time All-Star, played the last three seasons of his NHL career in Detroit, sealing his journeyman campaign with a Cup when the Wings beat the Carolina Hurricanes in five games. After retiring, Duchesne relocated to Texas with his family and became part owner of the American Hockey League’s Allen Americans.
5. Ray Bourque, Colorado Avalance (2001) -- The longtime Boston Bruins captain played just one full season for the Colorado Avalanche -- his final NHL season -- but it was then that he captured the trophy that had eluded him his whole career. And in recognition of his accomplishment, Avalanche captain Joe Sakic didn’t even take a victory lap himself before handing the Stanley Cup to Bourque for the first honors after the Avs’ Game 7 victory against the Devils in 2001. After his retirement, Bourque, who played 22 seasons in the NHL, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004. He was a five-time Norris Trophy winner and finished his career with 410 goals and 1,579 points in 1,612 games played.