Ex-Avalanche star Milan Hejduk announces retirement

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Denver, CO, United States (4E Sports) – After playing 14 years with the Colorado Avalanche, Milan Hejduk has decided to hang up his skates for good.

“I was fortunate to play many years at this level with a great organization and unbelievable teammates,” Hejduk said in a statement announcing his retirement. “I realized my lifelong dream of not only playing in the NHL but winning a Stanley Cup.”

Last season, the 38-year-old Hejduk had 11 points in 29 games. He was an unrestricted free agent this summer but has not played this season.

Drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in the fourth round of the 1994 NHL Draft, Hejduk had 375 goals and 430 assists in 1,020 games with the Avalanche. He’s the only player since the team moved to Colorado to play 1,000 games in an Avalanche jersey.

Hejduk, who joined the team for the 1998-99 season, is second in games played, and fourth in goals and points in the history of the Nordiques/Avalanche.

“Milan was one of the most humble players I ever had the privilege of competing with,” Sakic, the Avalanche’s executive vice President of hockey operations, said. “On the ice, he had one of the quickest and smoothest hands of any teammate I ever played with.”

Hejduk had 20 goals in a season 11 straight seasons, had at least 30 in a season five times and his 50 goals in 2002-03 won him the Rocket Richard Trophy. He made the League’s All-Rookie team after totaling 48 points in 82 games in 1998-99 and skated in three NHL All-Star Games.

Hejduk also had 34 goals and 76 points in 112 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and in 2000-01 tied for second in the League in playoff scoring with 23 points as the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup.

Hejduk also ranks third all-time in goals and points among Czech-born players. He was part of the Czech team that won the gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, the first one featuring NHL players. He also won the bronze medal at the 2006 Turin Olympics.

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