Kris Versteeg Says Goodbye to Rockford and Heads to Europe
In the offseason many saw the signing of Kris Versteeg to the Rockford Ice Hogs as a story book ending for the long time Blachawk, however we would not get the ending we imagined as Versteeg and the Rockford Icehogs decided to part ways. Versteeg closes one chapter with the Ice hogs another opens up to join his brother in the KHL to finish off his career.
"This organization gave me everything that I have today, and for this I am grateful. I, as well, would like to thank all members of the Blackhawks/IceHogs organization from top to bottom, and most importantly… the great fans of Chicago and Rockford.Kris Versteeg —-icehogs website"
This decision was made mutually between both parties. As he emotionally leaves the Blackhawks organization he reflects on his time with this organization.
"“Earlier this week, Kris approached us about mutually terminating his contract, at which point we asked him to take another couple of days to think about it,” said Chicago Blackhawks Vice President, Hockey Operations/Team Affiliates and IceHogs General Manager, Mark Bernard. “We spoke again Saturday morning and he had come to his final decision."
Emotional Kris Versteeg closed one chapter with the Ice hogs
Emotions are flowing as Versteeg is hanging up his skates and parts ways with the Rockford Icehogs. More importantly he felt like he needed to move on because he felt like he was getting in the way of the young talented Rockford forwards. Which as a result was hindering their progress.
Versteeg was drafted by the Boston Bruins in 2004 where he was selected in the fifth round 134 overall. Over his 11 year NHL career he played 5 total season with the Blackhawks (2007-2010 and 2013-2015) and was part of the 2010 and 2015 Stanley Cup teams.
He also had a solid career in Rockford, where he played 62 games and had 50 points (18 goals and 32 assists). He was a key piece for the Rockford Icehogs success in 2008 where the team reached the division finals of the Calder Cup.
Versteeg joined the Chicago Blackhawks organization in 2007 and in his closing remarks to Blackhawk and Ice Hogs fans would reflect on his time with the organization.
"I would like to give thanks and show my sincere gratitude toJohn McDonough, Stan Bowman, Mark Bernard, Al MacIsaac, Jay Blunk, and of course Rocky Wirtz and the entire Wirtz Family. You brought me in that day and gave me a new home. This organization gave me everything that I have today, and for this I am grateful. I, as well, would like to thank all members of the Blackhawks/IceHogs organization from top to bottom, and most importantly… the great fans of Chicago and Rockford."
In five years as a Chicago Blackhawks he a played 269 games. He scored 68 goals and 96 assists for 168 points. His plus minus was 42. So as you can see he was very productive with the Blackhawks.
What’s next for Versteeg
Versteeg is actually not hanging up his skates and is getting the opportunity to fulfill a dream that he and his brother had when they were kids. Kris’ brother Mitch is playing overseas for Nitra MHC in Slovakia and the plan is for both brothers to play together on that team for the rest of the year. What a way to call your hockey career, playing with your brother overseas, not a bad way to go out. I personally wish him the best as It’s not often that this kind of opportunity presents itself.