Koekkoek with the Oilers
Photo credit: OilersNation

Oilers defenceman retires from hockey to work odd jobs

Published March 13, 2024 at 5:45 PM

At just 27 years old, former tenth overall pick Slater Koekkoek retired two years ago after just 37 games played with the Oilers. Koekkoek never met traditional expectations for a first round pick, something which wore on him throughout his career and led to his early retirement. In a recent interview with Ian Mendes of the Athletic, Koekkoek revealed he was looking for a new purpose in life, and retired to work odd jobs.

These days, you can often find him clearing driveways and laneways after big snowfalls. In the fall, he was helping with yard cleanups in Ottawa.

«I'm trained from the school of YouTube. I'm A-plus as a hard worker. And what I don't know, I'll try and learn,» he said. «But you probably wouldn't want me doing your crown molding.»

In the interview, Koekkoek opened up about his mounting anxiety and unhappiness while playing in the NHL, getting so bad that he was unable to eat for days before a game. Koekkoek really leaned on his wife and former Oiler fan favourite Brandon Perlini to support him through the difficult times. He's now pursuing several odd jobs, everything from handiwork to volunteering to work at his local Tim Hortons. He's even creating a service to pair workers with employers facing labour shortages, called Fulfill Your Life Work.

Koekkoek went into detail about how his anxiety manifested into an eating disorder.
«I would say I played a majority of my professional games without the ability to eat much, if anything, the night before and the day of the games. Hockey Night in Canada on a completely empty stomach? Let's do this, I guess.»

Despite playing only a few games with the Oilers, and just less than 200 in his career with the Lightning and Blackhawks, fans will wish Koekkoek only the best in retirement - especially after learning of his mental health and circumstances. Doing whatever he wants in life, we're still fans of Koekkoek.
March 13   |   670 answers
Oilers defenceman retires from hockey to work odd jobs

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