Always an Av: Hejduk officially announces retirement

4 Comments

On Monday, Milan Hejduk called it a career.

Hejduk, 38, had previously told a Czech news outlet of his plans to walk away from professional hockey but, today, the official word came from the Avalanche — fitting, because Colorado was the only team Hejduk played for over his 14-year career, appearing in over 1,000 games in an Avalanche uniform.

“I was fortunate to play many years at this level with a great organization and unbelievable teammates,” he said 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 Czech winger enjoyed tremendous success in Colorado, scoring 23 points in 23 games en route to the 2001 Stanley Cup. Two years later, Hedjuk put forth his best offensive season, capturing the Maurice Richard Trophy on the strength of 50 goals while finishing with a career-high 98 points.

A three-time All-Star, Hejduk was one of the faces of the organization following its move from Quebec. His 375 goals and 805 points are the fourth-most in the history of the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise, and his 1,020 games played for the organization are second only to Hockey Hall Fame member Joe Sakic.

Hejduk was a decorated international performer as well. He won a pair of Olympic medals for the Czechs — gold at Nagano ’98, bronze at Turin ’06 — also representing his country at the World Juniors and World Hockey Championships.

He retires as the third-leading Czech scorer in NHL history, trailing only Jaromir Jagr and Patrik Elias.