I can’t believe this moment has finally arrived. After seven years of playing professional hockey, the time has come to hang up my skates.
I am retiring from playing the best sport in the world with some of the best teammates, fans, and people I’ll ever know.
Every professional athlete knows this moment will come. Despite this, it doesn’t make the moment any easier to handle. While retirement is inevitable for all of us in sports, stepping away from years of practice, competition, winning, losing, and learning certainly carry a weight. But, as the old cliché goes, “When you know, you know.” I know that a change is necessary and that, no matter what, life will continue to progress forward.
Now that I’m done playing, I’ll continue to impart my knowledge of the game to the next era of hockey players. I am moving back home to Minnesota to join forces with Devinir Goaltenders, the Minnesota Hockey Club youth AAA program, and the North American Hockey League as a goaltending coach. I couldn’t be more excited to switch gears to the next stage of my career!
Having the privilege to teach the game while I played is a responsibility I never took lightly. It’s why the decision to retire, while bittersweet, was an easy one. Now, all of my focus can be concentrated strictly to educating goaltenders of all skill levels as they chase their dreams like I once did in my hometown of Edina so many years ago.
When I reflect on my career, so much pours into my thoughts. It’s crazy what rushes through your mind over the course of seven years! Through success, failure, health, injury and everything in between, I’ve learned so much about myself and life. The most important takeaway of my career, which I can’t stress enough to my students, is that hard work and perseverance truly does pay off. There is no other way to approach sports, and life in general, without giving everyone and every day 100% of your absolute very best. If you set that as the minimum standard for life, every day is set up to be a win, no matter the outcome.
These lessons I’ve carried with me are because of the people I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by. I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world playing this great game and shared it alongside players and coaches from all over the globe that come from all walks of life. To my teammates, thank you for your friendship, your faith, and, if we’re being honest, putting up with me. Sometimes my passion outweighed logic…thank you for your patience, and for all the memories. It truly was a privilege to share the ice with you all. To the coaches I’ve worked with in Minnesota, junior, college, and the pros, thank you for your time and dedication for our betterment as players. That is a true sacrifice that never went unnoticed or unappreciated, and never will.
Regarding people and places, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the best fans in the most passionate city in the ECHL!
Rapid City, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU. I said it yesterday in our announcement, and I’ll say it again: you truly swept me off my feet. When I got here five years ago, I was floored by your passion and dedication to our team! You truly made me feel like a part of this community from the first day I settled down here, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed being a part of it. You provided me with memories and moments that will last a lifetime. You were a home away from home for me, and I’ll never be able to fully repay you for your generosity and love. Because of this environment, my career took off. My final years of success would not have been possible without this organization taking a chance on me.
While Rapid City welcomed me like family, it’s my true family back home that deserves the most praise.
To Allison, thank you for dealing with the chaos that is minor league hockey! It’s been a blast to share this ride with you, and I can’t wait to start our next chapter together.
Mom and Dad, thank you for EVERYTHING throughout the years! The blood, sweat, and tears…IT WAS ALL WORTH IT! I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. Thank you for your love and support, and for always being my strength.
To Ryan Ess and Alli Altman at Devenir Goaltenders, thank you for believing in the skinny kid from Edina who couldn’t make a varsity high school team! From Junior Gold-A to the NCAA, to an NHL entry level contract and beyond, we’ve had a crazy journey together. I’m stoked for what the future holds for all of us in this next stage.
Thank you, Hockey…for everything. This isn’t “goodbye”. It’s “see you later”.
With love, and gratitude,
Adam Carlson, #31, Rapid City Rush