Dustin Byfuglien makes unexpected return to hockey three years after retiring from the NHL

Dustin Byfuglien, in his prime, was a nightmare to play against. He was huge, strong, fast, and had a great hockey IQ.

Nicknamed Big Buff, he was a key player for the Winnipeg Jets and, for several years, one of the best defensemen in the world.

During the 2017-18 season, Byfuglien recorded 45 points in 69 games. The following year, he only played 42 games, but he still recorded 31 points.

Source: Getty Images

It was clear by the number of missing games that Big Buff was unhappy, but few people were prepared for what would happen.

During the summer of 2019, Byfuglien told the Jets that he wanted his contract to be determined. In April 2020, it was made official, and Byfuglien stepped away from hockey.

READ ALSO: Sidney Crosby takes shot at the NHL and officials after being ejected for the first time in his career

Byfuglien also walked away from a contract worth around $14 million, but he did what was necessary for his mental health.

Since then, Byfuglien has barely made any public appearances, and he hasn’t done a whole lot of interviews. Byfuglien has been seen during ice fishing competitions and seemed to have left hockey behind for good.

But now, Byfuglien has made a sudden return to hockey, and we’re absolutely all for it. Former teammate and Jets captain Andrew Ladd shared a photo of Byfuglien on his Instagram.

The photo is from a rink, and Byfuglien is in full gear. Ladd also wrote:

”Somehow got this guy on skates again…”

Fans were delighted to see Big Buff back on the rink, and the photo quickly made the rounds on social media, with fans absolutely loving it.

”Imagine showing up to your beer league and Buff lines up across from you,” one said.

”Buff’s looking good! Nice to see him back on the ice,” another added.

”Loved me some Dustin Byfuglien,” a third said.

READ ALSO: P.K. Subban and Joe Thornton team-up in the best commercial we have ever seen, this is pure gold