Former Colorado Avalanche forward Milan Hejduk announces retirement

Colorado Avalanche Milan Hejduk pumps his fist celebrating his goal against the Edmonton Oilers...

Colorado Avalanche Milan Hejduk pumps his fist celebrating his goal against the Edmonton Oilers during their NHL hockey game Denver, Colorado February 23, 2011. (REUTERS/Mark Leffingwell)

The Sports Xchange

, Last Updated: 12:31 PM ET

Former Colorado Avalanche forward Milan Hejduk announced his retirement on Monday.

Hejduk spent all 14 of his NHL seasons with the Colorado Avalanche.

Last season, Hejduk had 11 points in 29 games. No team picked him up after he became a free agent in the offseason.

Hejduk, 38, had 375 goals and 430 assists in 1,020 games with the Avalanche. He is the only player since the team moved from Quebec to play 1,000 games for the Avalanche.

“I was fortunate to play many years at this level with a great organization and unbelievable teammates,” Hejduk said in a statement. “I realized my lifelong dream of not only playing in the NHL but winning a Stanley Cup. My family and I are proud to call Denver home and are enjoying our time together.”

Hejduk was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in the fourth round of the 1994 NHL Draft and he joined the team in the 1998-99 season. He is second in franchise history in games played, and fourth in goals and points.

Hejduk had 11 straight seasons with at least 20 goals, including five with at least 30, and his 50 goals in 2002-03 won him the Rocket Richard Trophy. He made the NHL All-Rookie team after totaling 48 points in 82 games in 1998-99 and was a three-time NHL All-Star.

“Milan was one of the most humble players I ever had the privilege of competing with,” Avalanche executive vice President of hockey operations Joe Sakic said in a statement. “On the ice, he had one of the quickest and smoothest hands of any teammate I ever played with. His release, along with his hockey sense and vision, made him one of the premier goal scorers in the NHL during his prime. Milan was a true winner and would do anything he could to help our team win. He was a quiet leader who led by example and always represented this organization and himself with class.”

Hejduk also had 34 goals and 76 points in 112 Stanley Cup playoff games. He helped the Avalanche win the 2001 Stanley Cup with 23 points in that season’s playoffs.

Hejduk ranks third all-time in goals and points among Czech-born players. He played on the Czech team that won the gold medal at the Nagano Olympics in 1998, the first that featuring NHL players. He also helped the Czechs win bronze at the Turin Olympics in 2006.

 


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