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Nathan MacKinnon retires from hockey to pursue acting career

The former No. 1 overall pick is swapping out his skates for screenplays.

Denver, CO — In an announcement that's sure to send shock waves throughout the National Hockey League, the 2013 first-overall pick and Calder Trophy winner, Nathan MacKinnon, has announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season to pursue his dream of becoming a Hollywood actor.

“After four great years with the Colorado Avalanche, I have decided to hang up my skates and ship out to Tinseltown,” MacKinnon said in a statement early Saturday morning. “Though I know my decision will disappoint fans and teammates. I can only hope you will enjoy watching me on the silver screen as much as you did when I donned that burgundy and blue jersey at the Pepsi Center.”

The move isn't completely without precedent. The 21-year-old Nova Scotia native previously appeared on the Canadian comedy series Mr. D shortly after being drafted in 2013. He is also scheduled to appear in the upcoming season of Netflix’s long-running mockumentary Trailer Park Boys.

MacKinnon’s decision comes just one season after signing a seven-year $44,100,000 contract extention, money he tells friends and teammates will be difficult to leave on the table, but ultimately worth it. He plans to support himself like a lot of burgeoning actors, working at one of Los Angeles’ many “high-visibility” bars or restaurants, hoping to be discovered for his first major role. (He cites an afternoon working the drive-thru at Tim Horton’s as past work experience.)

Nonetheless, Hollywood is already intrigued. “I know I shouldn’t get too excited yet, but my agent just lined a test-reading for a new Aaron Sorkin pilot,” MacKinnon said when asked for comment following Friday night’s 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues. “I thought skating drills were tough. Well, try walking through busy hallways engaged in rapid repartee!”

“I'm a big admirer of the gritty and compelling television of HBO and Showtime,” MacKinnon continued. “One of my greatest regrets is not pursuing a role on The Sopranos. I do a great mobster accent. Or maybe it’s not too late to find a part in the final season of Game of Thrones? John Snow’s lost brother or something.”

Sources tell us MacKinnon has also been hard at work with a vocal coach during home stands. Nancy Demuth of Littleton specializes in preparing big-name actors for Oscar-worthy musical roles. Some of her recent clients include Russell Crowe (Les Miserables) and Emma Stone (La La Land). When reached for comment, Demuth said MacKinnon has a big future ahead of him. “Nathan is one of those rare talents that has the range and presence to completely revive the Hollywood musical as a marketable genre. I can also see him having a long career on Broadway.”

Less hopeful was MacKinnon’s former employer, the Colorado Avalanche. In a statement to the media this morning, with more than a hint of bitterness, a noticeably disheveled Joe Sakic expressed concern about the 21-year-old All-Star center. “We wish him the best, but it is out belief his vast talents are best utilized on the ice, leading our organization to future greatness.” Sakic then broke down sobbing on the podium.

What happens next in an uncertain industry is anyone’s guess, but big dreams carried him this far in the hockey world and they're bound to do the same in Hollywood.