Christian Ehrhoff has hung up his skates. The paychecks from the Buffalo Sabres will keep coming for another decade.
After helping Germany win an Olympic silver medal and reaching the playoffs in the German elite league, Ehrhoff announced his retirement Sunday. The 35-year-old played for Buffalo from 2011 to 2014.
"After 19 years of pro hockey I’ve decided to call it a career," Ehrhoff said in a story published by IIHF.com. "Thanks to all my teams, teammates, coaches, staff members and fans for your support and countless amazing memories. The decision is well-thought. After so many years at the highest level, the time has come for me to start something new.”
Ehrhoff is going out as an unexpected Olympic medalist. The underdog Germans reached the gold-medal game last month before losing to the athletes from Russia, 4-3. Serving as an alternate captain, Ehrhoff had one goal and two points in seven games.
The defenseman had eight goals and 37 points in 58 games for Kölner Haie of the German League.
"Christian and all German ice hockey can look back with pride at an extraordinary career," said national team coach Marco Sturm. "He always presented himself on and off the ice as a leader and belongs to the best players German hockey has ever produced."
The Sabres traded for and signed Ehrhoff to a 10-year, $40 million contract in June 2011. He had 16 goals and 87 points in 192 games with Buffalo.
He wasn't interested in the Sabres' rebuild and Buffalo wasn't interested in the "cap-recapture penalties" implemented in the 2013 collective bargaining agreement. The team used a compliance buyout in June 2014 after just three seasons of the 10-year contract.
Though Ehrhoff doesn't count toward the Sabres' salary cap, he is on their payroll for $857,143 through the 2027-28 season.