Warrior retires at 18
Brennan Clark's hockey career has come to an abrupt end - at age 18.
Clark, in his third season with the BC Hockey League's West Kelowna Warriors, has had his hockey career and dreams taken away due to an eye injury.
The 18-year-old power forward says he woke up one morning in early October with no peripheral vision in his left eye.
Clark says the affliction is hereditary and has nothing to do with a hockey play or a hockey injury.
"I had blood clots in my eye so i had a minor stroke in the corner in my eye which resulted in a loss of peripheral vision on the left side," says Clark.
"I was on the ice for a couple of months but there were further complications later on."
Clark has skated with the team and undergone several tests in hopes the problem could be fixed.
He had hoped to return to the ice a few weeks ago but those complications he spoke of kept him out of game action, prompting his decision to move away from the game.
"In the end it was my decision. It wasn't recommended that I play again by doctors - but it was my decision to move on to a new chapter. With that peripheral loss there was risk for concussions and what not on a blind side hit," says Clark.
"I weighed the risks and rewards for about two-and-a-half months and with the complications it just pushed me over to making that decision."
Clark played just five games this season picking up one assist.
Over two plus seasons with the Warriors, Clark amassed 21 goals and 40 points in 95 games.
In honour of Clark the team has added a #20 decal to the back of their helmets.
"The guys have been great. It's a nice tribute but I will always be at the rink and around the guys. I'm not going away," added Clark.
Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster says the team will miss what Clark brings to the team on the ice and in the dressing room but adds the decision was the right one.
"From a pure hockey standpoint we certainly miss a guy who scored 17 goals for us last year. He was so good for our power-play," says Ferster.
"It is tough but he was a real pro about it, a real man about it. He's only 18 so we hope and pray there is some light at the end of the tunnel for him."
Clark says he will work for now and plans to go to school in September.
"Not too sure what I'm going to be taking but it's time to start a new chapter and I'm excited for it."
He also isn't ruling out a return to the ice if, at some point in the future, his vision returns.
"Absolutely. You never know what's going to happen in the near future. That door is always open."
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