Eriah Hayes, a former right winger for the San Jose Sharks, has announced his retirement from the sport of hockey through a heartfelt statement posted to his personal Twitter account on Tuesday morning.
Hayes took the 2016-2017 season off from playing professional hockey to recover from injuries sustained the previous season, which included a skull fracture. Before his hiatus, Hayes had played for the Chicago Wolves (AHL) after becoming an unrestricted free agent from the Sharks at the end of the 2014-15 season.
In his two-season tenure with the Sharks from 2013-15, Hayes played 19 games and scored his first and only NHL goal in a 4-1 defeat to Calgary on January 30, 2014. His time with the Worcester Sharks and Chicago Wolves saw a marked increase in games played (164) and goals scored (29) from 2012 to 2016.
In the open letter posted to his Twitter, Hayes thanked his family for their support through his career and the injuries he sustained in 2014-15, writing that “without them I’m not sure what I would have done.” Hayes also expressed his gratitude for the coaches, teammates, staff, and fans he had encountered during his time in the AHL and NHL.
Hayes ended his statement with a note that he and his wife, Katie, and daughter, Poppy, were living in his hometown of La Crescent, Minnesota on a farm where his “love for the outdoors has helped fill the void of playing the game.” He played hockey for La Crescent High School growing up, finishing as the Coulee Region’s all-time leading scorer with 240 points.
“The game of hockey has given me so much, and for that I am forever indebted,” he added.
Best wishes for the future, Eriah.