Aaron Ward retires

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 2:47 PM ET

TORONTO - Veteran defenceman Aaron Ward, who played 15 seasons, has decided to hang up his skates, according to the NHLPA.

Ward split last season between Anaheim and Carolina, netting one goal with 12 assists in 77 games. He recently underwent three surgeries to correct a knee problem, but was unable to be ready for the upcoming season -- leading to his decision to retire.

Since breaking into the league with Detroit during the 1993-94 season, the 37- year-old native of Windsor, Ontario posted 44 goals and 151 points in 839 regular-season tilts with Detroit, Carolina, Boston, the Rangers and Anaheim.

The steady backliner also compiled four goals and 10 points in 95 playoff contests.

"I'm very proud to have played for as long as I did in the NHL, with and against the best players in the game," Ward said in a statement released on the players' association site. "This game has left me with countless memories and relationships, especially from those Stanley Cup winning teams in Carolina and Detroit. Thank you to my family, fans, friends and teammates for all of the great years."

Formerly the fifth-overall pick of the Winnipeg Jets in the 1991 draft, Ward did not find a steady spot on the roster until 1996-97 with the Red Wings. He won a pair of Cups, with Detroit in 1997 and 1998 and again with Carolina in 2006. He reached another Finals with the Hurricanes in 2002.


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