Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop, center, right, carries his son Benjamin, left, with his wife Andrea Bishop and son James after a news conference announcing his retirement as an NHL hockey player in Dallas, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Credit: LM Otero/AP

Former University of Maine goalie and 13-year National Hockey League player Ben Bishop said his recent retirement hasn’t hit him yet.

“It has only been a few days. It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said the 35-year-old Bishop, whose retirement was prompted by a degenerative condition in his right knee.

The Dallas Stars goalie had knee surgery a year and a half ago to repair a torn meniscus and he practiced with the team before being sent down to the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars to play in his first game since the surgery last week.

He allowed eight goals on 34 shots in an 8-4 loss to the Chicago Wolves.

“I wanted to give it one last shot. I learned how to practice with it and get by. But in a game, you have to make sudden, explosive moves and I would get bone-on-bone pain. And my knee was swollen in the third period,” Bishop said. “I talked to the doctor and there is no sense ruining more cartilage just to play a little longer. But it was fun being out there again.”

Bishop concluded his career with a .921 save percentage, sixth best in NHL history among goalies who appeared in at least 100 games. His 2.32 goals-against average is 16th best.

His 33 shutouts are 62nd, he is tied for 65th in points with 12 on 12 assists, 78th in career wins with 222 and 108th in career games played with 413.

He was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy on three occasions but he never won. The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the NHL’s top goalie.

The native of Des Peres, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, was drafted by the Blues in the third round (85th overall) in 2005.

He spent three seasons at UMaine and led the Black Bears to back-to-back NCAA Frozen Four appearances in 2005-06 and 2006-07. UMaine lost to eventual national champions Wisconsin 5-2 and Michigan State (4-2) in the semifinals in Milwaukee and St. Louis, respectively.

He played his third and final season at UMaine in 2007-08 before signing with the Blues.

He went on to play for Ottawa, Tampa Bay and the Los Angeles Kings before concluding his career in Dallas.

“There are a lot of memories. I was fortunate to play on a lot of good teams throughout my career. We won a championship in juniors [Texas Tornado, North American Hockey League], went to two Frozen Fours at Maine and played in the Stanley Cup finals twice,” Bishop reminisced.

“The friendships you make in this game at every level make it so special. To play in the NHL was a dream come true and to have success makes it that much better.”

He became just the third goalie in NHL history to record shutouts in two game sevens in one season in the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2015 when he blanked Detroit and the New York Rangers by 2-0 scores.

He will always remember his 52-save performance in a 2-1, double-overtime game seven loss to eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis in 2019 when he was with Dallas.

“Playing in game sevens is what you dream about as a kid,” Bishop said.

He wound up with an NHL record of 222-128-36 and a Stanley Cup playoff stat line of 29-21 with a 2.27 GAA and a .924 save percentage. He had five playoff shutouts.

The 6-foot-7 Bishop, who was also known for his ability to handle and shoot the puck, compiled a 55-35-7 record at UMaine with a 2.29 GAA and a .912 save percentage.


He is third all-time in saves (2,399) and fourth in goals-against average and games played (99).

“My time at Maine was very special,” said Bishop. “When I came to Maine, I didn’t know what to expect. I came in as a kid and when I left I aspired to play in the NHL. Some of my best friends are from my days at Maine. I was up there visiting last summer.”

Bishop said former UMaine assistant and goalie coach Grant Standbrook was pivotal in his NHL career.

“Grant is the best. I owe him a lot of credit. I wouldn’t have gotten where I did without him. That’s a fact,” Bishop said.

Bishop intends to stay involved with the Stars organization.

“I still try to go to the rink every day and be a part of it. Hopefully, after the holidays, I can find a role with the team,” he said. “I want to help any way I can.”

He is also looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Andrea, and sons Benjamin IV and James. They are going to St. Louis for the holidays.

“This will be the first time I’ve had a break longer than four days in 20 years,” Bishop said.