Blackhawks Head Athletic Trainer Mike Gapski Retiring
If there were a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame for trainers, Mike Gapski would be in it. The Blackhawks’ head athletic trainer is an institution at the United Center. Every time a player leaves via trade, he thanks “Gapper” for keeping him in one piece.
Well, the Gapper is calling it a career.
Gapski has announced he will retire at the end of the season. He joined the Blackhawks in 1987 — the year before Jonathan Toews was born. Gapski is the longest-tenured, single-team trainer in NHL history.
According to the Blackhawks’ release, Gapski will have worked 2,758 regular-season games and 249 playoffs games with the Blackhawks. A total of 536 players will have played at least one game while Gapski has been the Blackhawks’ head athletic trainer.
“I think I’m ready for it,” Gapski said in the team release. “After all these years, it’s time to move on and kind of get it established, like a normal life. I’ve enjoyed it. We’ve had some great times on the Stanley Cups and things like that, and my family has enjoyed every bit of it. But I think it’s time for me to move, step down and move on to next chapter.”
As the Blackhawks turn the page to so much on the ice, they will now also need a new head athletic trainer for the first time in nearly 40 years.
What a run!