Defenceman Rob Blake, who helped Canada end two lengthy gold medal droughts, has announced his retirement, ending a 20-year NHL career that saw him play 58 games in the red and white of Team Canada and more than 1,200 in the National Hockey League.
The Simcoe, Ont., native represented Canada on nine different occasions, and had a front-row seat for a pair of historic victories. In 1994, Blake recorded two points to help Canada win gold at the IIHF World Championship for the first time since 1961, and contributed three points eight years later as Canada won Olympic gold for the first time in 50 years with victory in Salt Lake City, a tournament in which he was named Top Defenceman.
In addition to his 2002 Olympic gold Blake suited up for Canada at the 19 Games, one of just four players to see action in each of the first three Olympics to feature NHLers, joining Adam Foote, Chris Pronger and Joe Sakic.
He also answered the call for his country five times at the IIHF World Championship, adding a 1997 gold to his 1994 title and taking home silver from the 1991 Worlds in his international debut. Blake’s 36 games at the world championship are third-most of any Canadian defenceman, trailing just Eric Brewer and James Patrick, and his 16 points tie him with Brewer for the most by a Canadian defenceman since NHLers were first allowed at the tournament in 1977. He also took home Top Defenceman honours and earned a spot on the Tournament All-Star Team at the 1997 Worlds.
Blake wore the ‘C’ as Canada’s captain in 1999, in what turned out to be his final appearance at the IIHF World Championship, and also represented Canada at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, where he helped the team reach the final.
As an NHLer, Blake played 1,270 games for Los Angeles, Colorado and San Jose, winning the Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001 and helping the Kings reach the final in 1993. The Norris Trophy winner in 1997-98, Blake earned a spot on the NHL’s First All-Star Team in that same season, along with three-consecutive appearances on the Second All-Star Team (1999-2000, 2000-01, 2001-02).
He served as Los Angeles’ captain from 1996, replacing the traded Wayne Gretzky, until 2001, and again in 2007-08 in his second tour of duty with the Kings. In 2009-10, he captained the Sharks in what would be his final NHL season. Blake retires with 777 points in 1,270 career NHL games, along with 23 points in 58 international games.