A long-time NHL winger is taking a bow and retiring from the game. Czech winger Jakub Voracek is retiring from the NHL after nearly 20 seasons in the league, per Daily Faceoff. Voracek is pointing to health concerns as a reason why he wants to hang up his skates.

“It’s because of the head and the injury. It’s just over, but it’s part of a hockey career,” Voracek said, per CNN Prima. “It ends once, and something new begins elsewhere. Four [concussions] were so heavier, eight smaller.”

Voracek's career

Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Jakub Voracek (93) looks on against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period at PNC Arena.
© James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Czech winger hasn't played in the NHL since the 2022-23 campaign, when he was a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Voracek was used in a limited capacity that year, appearing in a career-low 11 games. He put up six points, with five assists during the campaign for Columbus.

It was his second stint with the franchise. He played for Columbus from 2008-2011, and then again from 2021-23. He also skated for the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL. The winger is under contract for the Arizona Coyotes, but never played a game for the club before announcing his retirement.

Voracek closes out his NHL career with 1,058 games played. He scored 223 goals, and added 583 assists. His point total was 806, with two 80 plus point seasons while a member of the Flyers. He played in 82 games in four separate seasons for Philadelphia. The winger was drafted by Columbus in the 2007 NHL Draft, with the seventh overall pick.

Voracek's greatest performance on the ice is probably the NHL All-Star game in 2015. He scored three goals and added three assists, to tie Mario Lemieux for the most points ever in an All-Star game, with six each. Lemieux accomplished that feat in the 1988 game. The two players are the only skaters in NHL history to score three goals and add three assists in an All-Star contest.

Voracek also suffered a series of concussions in his NHL career, which appears to have been a big reason for the retirement decision. The NHL is making it a priority to do more to protect players from head injuries, including issuing lengthy suspensions for players who incite that type of contact. Despite the progress, there are still several incidents each season where players have to leave games due to upper-body blows. Even referees are sometimes involved in head-to-head contact on the ice, which happened in a game earlier this season in Pittsburgh.

The winger had been working with NHL legend Jaromir Jagr, as a part-time coach since he quit playing.

“(Jagr) called me in September if I could help. So I decided to try it part-time. I enjoy it a lot. We’ll see what happens in the future, but I can’t go on ice anymore,” Voracek added.

Fans of both the Blue Jackets and Flyers likely remember Voracek's contributions fondly, and wish him well in his retirement.