Vancouver Canucks forward Trevor Linden officially announced his retirement on Wednesday, 20 years to the day after the Canucks selected him with the 2nd overall pick in the 1988 National Hockey League Entry Draft at the Montreal Forum.
''Today is an emotional and exciting day for me as an athlete and a person,'' said Linden. ''It closes one chapter of my life, my playing career, while opening up another which I am very much looking forward to. The game of hockey has been good to me and I would like to thank my family, former teammates, coaches, managers, support staff and the incredible fans that have been so generous in their support of my career.''
Linden spent 16 of his 19 NHL seasons in a Canucks uniform. The 38-year-old holds the team record with 415 career assists and his 318 career goals are second only to captain Markus Naslund.
While Linden may be the best player in franchise history he retires without capturing the sport's top prize in the Stanley Cup. He did however lead the Canucks to the 7th game of the 1994 Finals before losing to the New York Rangers.
"You kind of know that when you are going through it, it may be the only chance you have," Linden told THE CANADIAN PRESS. "It's not something I dwell on.
"I think that certainly I would have loved to be part of a championship team here in Vancouver. I can say I preformed as well as I could and tried to do what was right."
During his 19 seasons, Linden was a two-time NHL All-Star (1990-91, 1991-92) and represented Team Canada at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. He retires as the Canucks all-time leader in games played (1140), assists (415) and is second in goals (318) and points (733). His 118 games, 34 goals, 61 assists and 95 points in the Playoffs are all club records.
''Trevor has been a tremendous player, leader and ambassador for our club and our city for two decades,'' said President and CEO Chris Zimmerman. ''His contribution to our team both on and off of the ice, his efforts in our community and his connection with our loyal fans is very special. I have never seen a professional athlete have such a significant impact on a city and province as much as Trevor has had during his illustrious career as a Canuck. Trevor truly epitomizes the phrase Forever a Canuck.''
Linden completes his NHL career among the all-time league leaders in a number of statistical categories. His 1382 regular season games rank 32nd on the all-time list. Lindenls 375 career goals rank tied for 94th all-time (Butch Goring) and his 867 career points place him 99th in NHL history.