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Not everyone who has NHL dreams makes it. In fact, most don't ever realize their dreams of playing in the big leagues. But, that doesn't mean they can't make a living, or at least supplement their income, doing what they love. However, with more and more leagues scaling back games or shutting down completely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many minor league pros are choosing retirement over the uncertainty.

“I was already thinking about retiring,” David Pacan of the Brampton Beast told Sportsnet. “And when this happened (the season cancelled), it kind of solidified it. I know guys who could play another five, six years and are making the decision to quit."

“In the (ECHL), you’re not making top money. To make the season worthwhile, you have to play a full season. You can’t just stop and instantly get another job.”

Quinn O'Brien signed a contract with the Glasgow Clan of the EIHL over the summer, but the league has since decided to shut down completely for the 2020-21 year.

“I don’t like to admit it’s completely over just yet,” O’Brien said. “I still feel I have a lot to give. But I’d say the door is definitely closing behind me — I’m on my way out the door and it’s not quite closed.”

“I’ve never really said the ‘R’ word yet, but that could just be me holding onto something that isn’t really there."

28-year-old Corey Durocher, a former draft pick of the Florida Panthers, is hoping to play a season with the Allen Americans of the ECHL. The league is supposed to start playing in mid-December, but Durocher said he isn't sure that will happen.

"This was probably going to be my last year playing anyway,” says Durocher — a native of Allen, Texas — prior to a training session. “I’ve had a few injuries and stuff like that. And I kind of want to get on with life and start making a little more money.”

"Maybe if I was in the NHL or AHL making more money, but you’ve kind of got to look at your long-term health,” Durocher says. “I’m not making enough money here right now to justify it.”
NOVEMBER 26, 2020  (17H12)