The End of an Era: Kolzig Quits

After a long and storied career, Olie Kolzig retired today.  From the NHL press release

After 14 seasons, veteran goaltender Olaf Kolzig announced his retirement today from the National Hockey League.

Kolzig, 39, a two-time NHL All-Star (1998, 2000) and former Vezina Trophy winner (2000), appeared in a total of 719 NHL games, 711 of those with the Washington Capitals. His 303 career wins rank him 21st all-time among goaltending wins leaders. Olaf also posted a career 2.71 GAA along with a .906 save percentage and 35 shutouts.

“I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to play the game of hockey at the NHL level for many seasons and I am grateful for everything the game has given me,” said Kolzig. “I would like to thank my family, all my teammates and the fans for making my time in the NHL so special.”

Ted Leonsis said about Olie:

“Olie was the face of the Capitals franchise for years, on the ice, in the locker room and around Washington, D.C. He was a great Capital and the organization and our fans will always have fond memories of ‘Olie the Goalie.’ We wish him and his wonderful family all the best in his retirement.”

More from the Capitals’ website here.

Kolzig retires with a number of Capitals goaltending records, including:

– Career games played (711), minutes (41,259), wins (301), save percentage (.906), saves (18,013) and shutouts (35)

– Single season games played (73, 1999-00), minutes (4,371, 1999-00), wins (41, 1999-00) and save percentage (.920, 1997-98)

Mark Miller from Children’s National Medical Center asked us to include the following about Olie:

When you report on Olie Kolzig’s retirement, please don’t forget all that he did for children and their families in Washington and nationwide. From his annual visits to Children’s National Medical Center to his involvement with the American Special Hockey Association to starting Athletes Against Autism, he used his fame and his personal experience as a father to give back to others.

When I accompanied the Capitals on their annual team visit to Children’s Hospital in 2007, I noticed that many of the younger players were uncomfortable approaching children who were too sick to get out of their hospital beds. Olie set an example for them: He would approach a child and say, “Hi I’m Olie. What’s your name?” As simple as that, he started a conversation, brightened a child’s day, and served as a mentor to his younger teammates. He was a leader on and off the ice.

You linked to this news story in May 2008 – it says it all.

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