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Former Moorhead star Brian Lee announces retirement from NHL

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Brian Lee skates with the puck against the Florida Panthers during the second period at Tampa Times Forum in this January 29, 2013 photo. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Below: An NHL draft board in Ottawa on July 30, 2005. Photo by Nicki Corrigall.

MOORHEAD – Former Moorhead High School hockey standout Brian Lee informed The Forum on Friday he has retired from hockey.

The results of an MRI of his knee in mid-October essentially made the decision for him.

“I went and saw a couple doctors, had an MRI and they took the decision out of my hands,” Lee said. “They told me the area they fixed was kind of deteriorating to the point where if I had continued to play it might fall apart. They thought it would be wise if I could walk away from the game rather than limp away in a wheelchair. That’s what we decided.”

Lee had returned from camp with the NHL's Nashville Predators in early October and felt good. He began skating and working out with the United States Hockey League’s Fargo Force when he felt pain in his knee.

“Then my knee got really sore to the point where I stopped practicing and working out,” Lee said. “That’s when a couple teams called and wanted me to play for them, but we put it on hold a little while to see if my knee would come around, but it continued to hurt.”

Lee had suffered a structural knee injury during the 2012-13 season while playing with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey Association – a pro affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He underwent surgery in May of 2013 and had to undergo a second procedure in November, which caused him to miss the entire 2013-14 season.

This summer the plan was to rehab and come back, but Lee’s plan have changed. He’s planning on studying nursing at North Dakota State and anesthesiology at the University of North Dakota.

“My mom is a nurse (anesthetist) and she loves it and it’s just been something that’s been very interesting to me ever since I was in high school, so now I’ll have a chance to go to school for it,” Lee said. “I’m excited.”

Lee played 209 NHL games with the Ottawa Senators and the Tampa Bay Lighting, scoring five goals, dishing out 31 assists and playing in four playoff games. He still has plans to be around hockey.

Lee is helping out the Force and has been helping out with youth hockey in Moorhead. He also has plans for private lessons for kids.

“I will still be very involved with hockey and I look forward to giving back to the community,” Lee said.  

Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy is a sports reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school and college sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota since 2009 and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so.

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