As he recovers from a blindside hit during a senior men's hockey game last month, former Oilers star Ryan Smyth says the incident has him re-evaluating his future in the game.
"There's more to life than hockey," the 41-year-old Smyth told CBC News on Monday, adding he doesn't plan to make "an emotional decision" about what he'll do next.
"But [the hit] sure puts things in perspective," he said.
"I don't know what the future holds right now, but I'm very blessed to have four children and a beautiful wife and that's the most important thing to me right now."
The Stony Plain Eagles captain says he doesn't remember the hit that left him motionless on the ice during Game 1 of the Alberta senior provincial hockey finals.
Video footage shows was coming down on the left wing when he cut across the slot and released a backhand shot. After the puck went into the net, Lacombe Generals winger Kyle Sheen blindsided him, hitting him square in the face.
Sheen said later he never intended to deliver a dirty hit, but in the speed of the game, he got lost in the play.
The hit left Smyth with a concussion and an appointment with the dentist. Staying healthy throughout his career in the NHL has helped him recover from the hit, he said.
Smyth said he hasn't spoken with Sheen since — nor does he want to.
"He did what he did and he feels how he feels. At the end of the day, I have my opinion on it, and I felt it wasn't the best play," Smyth said.
"In this circumstance, I couldn't protect myself. I think it could have been avoided."
Smyth joined the senior men's league about a year and a half ago, and said he didn't expect it to be so fast and competitive. He said he feels the "respect level" in the league could be better controlled.
As he steps back from playing hockey for the time being, Smyth is looking forward to watching his former team find success after an 11-year playoff drought.
"It's very impressive, it's great to see the Oilers back in the playoffs again," he said.
"There's nobody that deserves it more than the fans. I'm pretty excited to watch some playoff hockey."