CALGARY – Longtime NHL linesman Mike Cvik thinks NHL hockey has only gotten better with age.
“All the players are very skilled,” Cvik said. “They’re bigger, stronger, faster. They do things at a faster speed. It’s a way more entertaining game now than it was when I first came in.”
The 53-year-old skated on NHL ice for the last time on Tuesday, retiring after 29 years. His first game was on Oct. 8, 1987.
Speaking with Global Calgary’s Morning News on Wednesday, Cvik reflected on how strange it was to finish his career.
“It’s quite the emotional rollercoaster knowing that today I don’t have to make any flight arrangements, I don’t have to run around and do laundry, go to the bank and get US money… it’s weird.”
“The whole last two days have taken me by surprise,” Cvik said. “The amount of people that wanted to talk to me, the amount of our guys that reached out to me with text messages and emails, old Flames alumni that were texting me and emailing me, congratulating me.”
“It’s mind boggling, it’s humbling.”
When asked how he knew it was time to hang up his skates, Cvik said the league originally asked him to retire at the end of the 2014-15 season.
“We have an agreement in our contract that states we can start negotiating an exit strategy with the league, and mine has been about a year and a half long,” explained Cvik , who said the NHL gave him an extra half year to tie up loose ends.
“I got to request some cities, request some guys I wanted to work with and I got to do a lot of things I wanted to do and see a lot of my friends.”
Cvik worked his 1,868th and final NHL game on Tuesday as the Tampa Bay Lightning took on the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome.