Former Winnipeg Jet and NHL Head Coach Forced To Retire After Awful Diagnosis

Mark Parsons
October 11, 2023  (1:59 PM)


Former NHL player, coach, and long-time ESPN commentator Barry Melrose has announced his retirement due to a Parkinson's Disease diagnosis.
For nearly 30 years, he brought hockey to life for millions. Now Barry Melrose, who's been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, is stepping away from our ESPN family to spend more time with his own. Wayne Gretzky pays tribute to a one-of-a-kind guy, one we'll miss dearly on air.

Devastating Diagnosis

Melrose, reflecting on his five-decade-long association with hockey, released a statement through ESPN expressing gratitude for the cherished memories he amassed during his time in the sport. He acknowledged the support of his wife, Cindy, and emphasized his intent to now prioritize his health and family.
"I've had over 50 extraordinary years playing, coaching and analyzing the world's greatest game, hockey," he said. "It's now time to hang up my skates and focus on my health, my family, including my supportive wife Cindy, and whatever comes next. I'm beyond grateful for my hockey career, and to have called ESPN home for almost 30 years. Thanks for the incredible memories and I'll now be cheering for you from the stands."

After nearly three decades on air, ESPN thanks Barry Melrose for an unforgettable career & we wish him all the best

Illustrious Career

At 67, Melrose's storied career saw him play in both the WHA, with the Cincinnati Stingers, and in the NHL with teams like the Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Detroit Red Wings. Post his playing career, he transitioned into coaching and notably led the Los Angeles Kings to the 1993 Stanley Cup Final, though they were defeated by the Montreal Canadiens. His brief coaching return in 2008-09 with the Tampa Bay Lightning lasted just 16 games. After that, he found a consistent role as a broadcaster on ESPN until his recent retirement.
Legend. Leader. LA King. Luc reflects on what Barry Melrose means to our organization as he enters retirement

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman praised Melrose's massive contribution to the game, highlighting his infectious love for hockey and the unique, unmistakable personality he brought to ESPN's hockey coverage. Bettman remarked how Melrose's enthusiasm made hockey more captivating, and how a conversation with him invariably brought smiles. Sending their best wishes for his fight against Parkinson's, the NHL community and fans alike unite in sending their thoughts and positive energies to Barry Melrose and his loved ones during this challenging phase.
Very sad to hear about Barry Melrose being diagnosed with Parkinson's. I always enjoyed seeing him on ESPN.

As Read On Blade of Steel - Former NHLer, coach & ESPN commentator retires after terrible health diagnosis
Former Winnipeg Jet and NHL Head Coach Forced To Retire After Awful Diagnosis

What was Barry Melrose best at?

Playing2842.4 %
Coaching3857.6 %
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