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Former Avalanche star Hejduk announces retirement

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TSN.ca Staff
2/24/2014 10:54:02 AM
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Former Colorado Avalanche forward Milan Hejduk announced his retirement on Monday.

"I was fortunate to play many years at this level with a great organization and unbelievable teammates," said Hejduk 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."

The 38-year-old native of the Czech Republic spent 14 seasons in the NHL, all with the Avalanche.

"Milan was one of the most humble players I ever had the privilege of competing with," said Joe Sakic, the Avalanche's Executive Vice-President of Hockey Operations 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's career was a decorated one. The three-time All-Star won a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001 and two Olympic medals (gold in 1998 and bronze in 2006).

In 2002-03, Hejduk won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy for finishing the season as the NHL's top goal-scorer with 50. He eclipsed the 30-goal plateau five times and scored at least 20 goals in 11 times.

Last season saw Hejduk's worst offensive output, scoring only four times in 29 games of the lockout-shortened year, finding himself a healthy scratch at times. The Avalanche did not offer Hejduk a contract following last season, although, Hejduk did express desire to play on.

He finishes his career with 375 goals and 470 assists in 1020 games played, the second-most in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history. He holds the franchise record for most overtime goals with nine. Hejduk is the third-highest scoring Czech player in NHL history behind Jaromir Jagr and Patrik Elias.

Milan Hejduk (Photo: Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)
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