MUSKEGON, MI- Former Lumberjack forward Bobby Kaiser announced his retirement Tuesday, citing “a culmination of shoulder injuries” as his reason for stepping away.
“Looking back on my career, it’s been remarkable,” said Kaiser. “I’ve made lifelong friends playing this game and memories that I’ll never forget. Hockey has taken me places that I otherwise never would have gone.”
The Grosse Pointe, MI, native spent three seasons in Muskegon, playing in 126 games for the Lumberjacks from 2015 to 2018, the ninth-most games played in team history. Kaiser was beloved by fans in Muskegon for his gritty style of play, willingness to drop the gloves, and wicked wrist shot.
“My favorite memory in Muskegon was my fight against [Green Bay forward Rory] Herrman,” said Kaiser. “The Muskegon crowd that night was unbelievable, and I’ll never forget the support they gave me over the years.”
Oftentimes, during a 60+ game regular season, games in mid-January aren’t remembered. But that January 13, 2018 game between Green Bay and Muskegon is one that stood out, and not just to Kaiser.
“We had 3,300 in the building that night, but it felt like 10,000 after Bobby won that fight,” said Lumberjacks broadcaster Scott Bradford, who has called games for the team since 2016.
“In my time here, the building has never been louder than it was that evening,” said Bradford.
Kaiser’s shoulder issues caused him to miss more than half of the 2016-17 season, his second with Muskegon. However, he would rebound in ‘17-’18, scoring 15 points in 60 games for Muskegon while racking up 88 penalty minutes.
“While Bobby’s career was cut short, he’ll be remembered for all the right reasons,” said Lumberjacks head coach Mike Hamilton. “Bobby is a heart and soul kinda guy. A player that cared more about getting his teammates recognition than himself. He played a 200-foot game, paid attention to every detail and stood up for his teammates.”
“We are sorry to see his career come to an end,” said Hamilton. “However, we know he will find a new path and be extremely successful off the ice.”
Bobby’s freshman year at UMass-Amherst was a memorable one for Kaiser, albeit bittersweet. Kaiser aided the Minutemen’s run all the way to the NCAA final, but fell to Minnesota-Duluth in the title game. Kaiser’s collegiate career started hot: Bobby scored in the preseason, and potted two goals in his first seven games, including the game-winner against Holy Cross. However, Kaiser missed most of the regular season and the NCAA tournament because of injury.
Kaiser’s sophomore year at the University of Massachusetts Amherst was again derailed by injury after just six games, and after three surgeries in just a five-year span, Kaiser was forced to cut his career short.
UMass head coach Greg Carvel said the following via twitter: “For two seasons Bobby has been a great teammate and did a fantastic job playing to our identity on the ice. On behalf of our entire coaching staff, I want to thank him for the commitment he showed to UMass hockey and the integrity he exemplified in his actions.”
Kaiser plans to remain at the University of Massachusetts and complete his degree in Business Management.
Photo credit: Derek Wong