Justin Williams Was a Great Player, and He is a Great Person

Justin Williams Was a Great Player, and He is a Great Person

“There are great players and then there are great people. Justin Williams checks every box of greatness there is….” Frankly, that tweet by Canes’ play-by-play broadcaster Mike Maniscalco might even be an understatement.

On Thursday evening, Carolina Hurricanes forward Justin Williams announced his retirement from the National Hockey League. Williams’ NHL career is filled with highlights, including more than 300 goals, winning three Stanley Cups, and more triumphs.

More than anything, though, fans will remember Williams’ NHL career by his nickname, “Mr. Game 7.”  Williams played in nine career Game 7s. In those nine games, he recorded 15 points — seven goals and eight assists — the most in NHL history. And, perhaps even more impressively, Williams’ teams went 8-1 in those nine games.

Justin Williams (“Mr. Game 7”) retires with 15 points in nine Game 7s, the most in NHL history.

Canes fans will remember Williams from their 2006 Stanley Cup win. We’ll remember him with the captain’s “C” on his chest. We’ll also remember him for being such a great leader, teammate and competitor. And we’ll remember him giving it one last go this past season.

But, at least for North Carolinians who live in the Raleigh area, Williams’ impact remains though his NHL career might be over.

Just this past weekend, Williams was at the Wake Competition Center helping coach the Accelerator Hockey Academy participants. And it wasn’t that long ago that he and his daughter were sitting in the Backyard Bistro signing autographs for more than a hundred fans of all ages.

Justin Williams signing autographs at Backyard Bistro
Justin Williams signing my son’s jersey.

That’s what makes Maniscalco’s tweet so perfectly correct.

“@JustinWilliams checks every box of greatness there is….”

It’s his greatness that makes it easy to start speculating about what’s next for Williams. Is it coaching? Is it a front-office job? Maybe it’s one of those. Or maybe it’s none.

Or maybe it’s just a well-deserved chance to be a dad. Ahusband. A son. Maniscalco gets it right there, too. “From son to parent, teammate to leader,” he writes, “Justin Williams “represents how good we can be.”

At a time when folks are struggling to find the good in things, Justin Williams is a reminder that it’s always there if we look hard enough for it.

Thank you, Mr. Game 7.

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