Mar 20, 2011; Buffalo, NY, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Blake Geoffrion (5) heads into the Buffalo Sabres zone during the first period at the HSBC Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Geoffrion, Former Nashville Predators Forward, Retires At Age 25 (UPDATED)

Former Nashville Predators forward Blake Geoffrion announced today that he is retiring from professional hockey at the age of 25, according to ESPN’s John Buccigross:

Former Nashville Predators forward Blake Geoffrion

Mar 20, 2011; Buffalo, NY, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Blake Geoffrion (5) during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at the HSBC Arena. (PHOTO: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

Blake Geoffrion was originally brought to the NHL by the Nashville Predators, who chose him with the 56th overall pick in the 2006 draft. In doing so they extended his family’s lineage on the ice to four generations, after his father Dan Geoffrion; grandfather Bernie “Boom-Boom” Geoffrion, a member of the Hall of Fame and inventor of the slap-shot; and great-grandfather Howie Morenz. They also made him the first pro player from the state of Tennessee; Geoffrion grew up in Brentwood.

Geoffrion won the Hobey Baker Award in his senior year with the University of Wisconsin Badgers, making him the first Badger player to earn that honor. He spent the beginning of the next season with the Milwaukee Admirals but was called up to Nashville after he put up 37 points (11G-26A) in 45 games with Milwaukee. He put up another eight (6G-2A) for the Preds that season, including a hat-trick against the Buffalo Sabres that cemented his place in Nashville Predators lore:

He started the 2011-12 season with Nashville but only scored three points in 20 games, earning a demotion to Milwaukee. He continued to play for the Admirals until Nashville general manager David Poile, looking to bolster his NHL roster for a playoff run, traded Geoffrion to the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Hal Gill. It was the end of Geoffrion’s run in Nashville, and he would never play pro hockey in his home state again.

Former Montreal Canadiens forward Blake Geoffrion

Blake Geoffrion got to score a few goals for the Canadiens. (PHOTO: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

Geoffrion responded by posting 12 points (8G-4A) in nine games for the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs. He was called up to play 13 games for the team with which his grandfather won six Stanley Cups. He scored two goals and the Montreal faithful had great hopes for him to add to his family’s legacy the following season.

Instead the NHL lockout came along and Geoffrion continued his career with the Bulldogs. It was while playing for them on November 9th, 2012, that the incident which would eventually lead to his retirement occurred. Playing against the Syracuse Crunch in an AHL game at the Bell Centre in Montreal, before a crowd that was being deprived of watching Geoffrion play big-league hockey, former Canadiens player Jean-Philippe Côté delivered a punishing check to Geoffrion.

Geoffrion had a fractured skull. (Backhand Shelf has an excellent, in-depth look at the injury here.) He underwent surgery and recovered, but the after-effects were serious enough that today he announced his retirement. “I love the game of hockey more than anything and this decision tears me up inside,” Geoffrion said. “But we are talking about my brain.”

UPDATE: The road may not have come to an end for Blake Geoffrion just yet, according the the Tennessean‘s John Glennon:

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