Dartmouth alum Lovejoy retires after 11 NHL seasons

  • Dallas Stars defenseman Ben Lovejoy (21) skates past the puck after the St. Louis Blues' Jaden Schwartz scored following an injury to goaltender Ben Bishop (30) during the third period on Sunday, May 5, 2019 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The teams were playing Western Conference Second Round Game 6 of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Stars lost to the St. Louis Blues, 4-1. (Tom Fox/Dallas Morning News/TNS) The Dallas Morning New/TNS file — Tom Fox

  • Dallas Stars defenseman Ben Lovejoy (21) climbs on the back of Nashville Predators center Colton Sissons (10) and slides in to the goal with Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop (30) during the second period of Game 6 of the first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Dallas Stars and the Nashville Predators on Monday, April 22, 2019 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. (Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News/TNS) The Dallas Morning News/TNS file — Ashley Landis

Staff Reports
Published: 8/29/2019 9:40:56 PM
Modified: 8/29/2019 9:40:49 PM

HANOVER — After more than 500 games with four teams, former Dartmouth College defenseman Ben Lovejoy announced his retirement from the National Hockey League on Thursday.

Lovejoy concluded an 11-year career in the NHL during his debut as a studio analyst on the NHL Network’s NHL Tonight program, according to a Dartmouth sports information news release. The 35-year-old Lovejoy played 2½ seasons with the Big Green, graduating in 2006, after first earning a scholarship out of prep school to play hockey at Boston College.

The blueliner is the first New Hampshire native to have his named etched on the Stanley Cup, having won the trophy with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016. 

“Playing in the NHL was a lifelong dream come true,” Lovejoy said. “I spent 24 years of my life trying to get to the NHL, then 11 trying to stay. I'm so lucky with how everything turned out."

After a successful prep school career at Deerfield Academy, Lovejoy signed to play at BC for legendary coach Jerry York. Limited playing time, however, led to a transfer to Dartmouth after less than two seasons.

Lovejoy would play three winters for longtime Big Green coach Bob Gaudet, scoring 11 goals with 43 assists over 96 career games and playing on the 2005-06 team that won a share of the Bill Cleary Cup as ECAC Hockey’s regular-season champions.

Undrafted out of college, Lovejoy signed as a free agent with Pittsburgh in 2007. He made his NHL debut with the Penguins in the 2008-09 campaign and was on the practice roster of the team when it won the Stanley Cup in 2009. Lovejoy didn’t get his name on the chalice on that occasion, but he did seven years later as a regular contributor on Pittsburgh’s blue line. He then brought the Cup back to the Upper Valley on his designated day with the trophy to share his success with hometown fans.

The Penguins traded Lovejoy to the Anaheim Ducks in 2013, reacquiring him two years later. He signed with the New Jersey Devils as a free agent in time for the 2016-17 campaign. The Devils dealt Lovejoy to the Dallas Stars last season in the run-up to the NHL trading deadline.

Lovejoy’s 544 career NHL games ranks third behind Lee Stempniak (911) and Carey Wilson (552) among former Dartmouth skaters. He and 1928 graduate Myles Lane are the only ex-Big Green players to win the Stanley Cup.

Lovejoy announced in 2017 that he would donate his brain upon his death to the Concussion Legacy Foundation to support research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy and concussions, becoming the first active player to do so. He said his future plans include returning to Thompson Arena to watch the Big Green.

“I look forward to what’s next,” he said. “We moved to Hanover, and I am excited to be a dad and raise our three girls here.

“Dartmouth hockey is so special to me. When I arrived at Dartmouth, my hockey career was struggling. Coach Gaudet gave me a second chance and a new lease on my hockey career, and I am forever grateful and consider him the most important coach I have ever played for. I can’t wait to sit in the stands at Thompson and watch the boys play. I look forward to being a fan.”

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