The Minnesota Wild announced via Twitter that long time fan favorite Andrew Brunette has officially announced his retirement and will join the Wild as a "Hockey Operations Advisor." From Wild.com:
"In his new role with the Wild, Brunette will assist General Manager Chuck Fletcher in all aspects of the team's hockey operations including scouting, free agent signings and helping with the evaluation and development of prospects at all levels of the organization."
Andrew Brunette will forever be known best for his game 7 overtime game winning goal scored against the Colorado Avalanche in 2003, the final goal ever scored on Patrick Roy, and one of the greatest goals in franchise history. Wild fans will also always list him as one of the guys who HWSRN let get away. It was one of the worst mistakes (short of botched draft picks and even worse trades) that the Wild's first GM ever made.
After the 2003-04 season, the lockout killed the idea that players like Brunette could still play the game. He was "slow" and there were constant questions about his skating. All Brunette did after the lockout was score 135 goals and add 242 assists in his final seven seasons, including a 83 point season in 2006-07.
When Chuck Fletcher took over, it was clear that Brunette no longer had a role with the Wild, as Fletcher worked to revamp the top line and make the team faster. He went to the Chicago Blackhawks for one season, putting up 12 goals and 15 assists before a second lockout finally cost him his shot to remain in the NHL.
Brunette will, no doubt, go on to a long career either in the front office of NHL teams or in the broadcast booth. There is no denying that Brunette's personality and unmistakable laugh will be a welcome presence in the Wild organization.
Welcome home, Bruno.