Milan Hejduk Officially Retires

In a fitting move, the Colorado Avalanche were the ones to make the press release announcing that their former star winger, and captain Milan Hejduk was officially retiring from the NHL on Monday.

“I was fortunate to play many years at this level with a great organization and unbelievable teammates,” Hejduk said in a statement released by the Avalanche. “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.”

Last season Hejduk had 4 goals and 11 points in 29 games. He became an unrestricted free agent this summer but has not played this season.

The 38-year-old Hejduk, finishes his career with 375 goals and 430 assists for 805 points in 1,020 games with the Avalanche. Hejduk also had 34 goals and 42 assists for 76 points in 112 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and in 2000-01 tied for second in the League in playoff scoring with 23 points in 23 games and helping the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup. He won the Rocket Richard Trophy, scoring 50 goals in the 2002-03 season. He won the NHL’s plus/minus award as well that year. He was also a three-time participant in the NHL All-Star game, and was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie team in 1998-99, and was a post-season Second Team All-Star in 2002-03. He’s the only player since the team moved to Colorado to play 1,000 games in an Avalanche jersey. Originally drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in the fourth round of the 1994 NHL Draft (No. 87), he spent his entire 14 year NHL career with the franchise.

“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. 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.”

A native of Usti, Czech Republic, Hejduk also ranks third all-time in goals and points among Czech-born players, behind only Jaromir Jagr and Patrick Elias. He was part of the Czech Republic squad that won the 1998 Olympic Men’s Hockey Gold Medal in Nagano, Japan; which was the first Olympics to feature NHL participation. He was also a member of Bronze Medal winning Czech squads in the 2006 Torino games, and at the 1998 IIHF World Championships.

Here is a snapshot of what some current Avs, and former teammates of Hejduk had to say.





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Main photo credit: Dinur via photopin cc