The Bruins announced Monday that forward Simon Gagne will not return to the team this season because of personal reasons. Gagne’s father, Pierre, died in December from liver cancer. Gagne had left the team Dec. 10 to be with his father after he was diagnosed.
“The last month has been extremely difficult for me with my father being sick and his passing,” Gagne said in a statement. “To play in the NHL, you have to be 100 percent mentally, emotionally, and physically committed to the game. At this time I know that I cannot be close to those levels.
“The Bruins organization and my teammates have been great to my family and I during this time. When I decided not to return this season, I spoke to [general manager] Peter [Chiarelli] and assured him that I did not want the organization or my teammates to be impacted. Together we made the decision that my status would be changed so that the team could have a full active roster.
“In addition, I would like to thank the fans and the NHL family for all of the support that they have given my family and I during his difficult time — it has truly meant a lot.”
Gagne joined the Bruins this season after taking the 2013-14 season off from hockey. He was brought in on a training camp invite, and was signed to a one-year deal a week into the season. He had played on multiple lines for the Bruins, though mostly with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille on the fourth line.
With the decision by Gagne, he becomes a “suspended player” on the roster.
“At this time, Simon feels that he has to be home with his family, and he has the complete support of the Boston Bruins organization with this decision,” Chiarelli said in a statement.
“Given Simon’s decision not to return to the team, we have to change his status to maintain a full roster. I spoke to Simon about this, and he assured me that we have his full support with this status change.”
This could mean the end of Gagne’s 14-year NHL career, which he spent mostly in Philadelphia with the Flyers. The forward amassed 291 career goals, including three with the Bruins this season, and 310 career assists, including one this season.
He played in 23 games in Boston, averaging 11:18 of ice time per game.
Gagne also spent time with the Kings and Lightning.