Chris Pronger injury: Flyers star 'is never going to play again,' team confirms

Bruce Bennett

The Philadelphia Flyers have acknowledged that Chris Pronger will never play again in an interview with The Hockey News. This is believed to be the first public admission of this.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger will never play hockey again, manager Paul Holmgren confirmed in an interview with Ken Campbell of The Hockey News.

Despite everyone already knowing Pronger's career was over, the team has never openly acknowledged that fact previously. There have been insinuations about Pronger looking to get healthy and the like, but never a definitive statement regarding his future.

That is until Campbell filed a story about Pronger on Monday afternoon, via The Hockey News:

"I'll say it, Chris is never going to play again," said Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. "I have no problems saying it."

Pronger has not played a game since Nov. 19, 2011, and has been suffering problems with his right eye since being hit in the face by Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski on Oct. 24, 2011. Those problems have included disorientation by light and loud noises, as well as the loss of his peripheral vision. His wife, Lauren, outlined some of the daily issues Pronger has been dealing with during an interview in January of 2012.

His brother, Sean Pronger, stated in a Deadspin question-and-answer session in January of 2013 that he thought Chris would never play again but expressed that he couldn't speak about that definitively. Previous accounts have indicated that Philadelphia couldn't acknowledge the end of Pronger's career because of salary cap issues that would come with his retirement.

The Flyers signed Pronger to a seven-year, $34.45 million contract in 2009 when he was 35 years old, which meant the team was responsible for the entirety of the contract regardless of whether the player retired. When Pronger sustained the injury, the team was able to bury his $4.9 million cap hit by placing him on long-term injured reserve. This meant Pronger would still be paid and the Flyers would have flexibility under the salary cap -- that is, as long as Pronger never retires.

Many have speculated that the Flyers could not openly acknowledge that Pronger will never play again because it would violate the use of long-term injured reserve.

Now that Holmgren has openly acknowledged it, it brings into question whether that's the case.

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