Justin Williams announces retirement from NHL

Justin Williams
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Justin Williams has announced his retirement after 1,264 games and 20 NHL seasons.

“Since I first broke into the league a day after my 19th birthday back in 2000, this game has brought me so much that I will never be able to repay it,” Williams wrote in a statement. “The countless experiences, relationships, lessons and hardships will remain with me forever as I move on to the next stage of my life. I’ve never once taken for granted the privilege it is to be able to play a game for a living, and that is probably why I was able to play it professionally for as long as I have.”

The 28th overall pick in 2000 draft by the Flyers, Williams will be best known for his time with the Hurricanes and Kings.

During his first tenure with the Canes, Williams spent five seasons with the team, helping them win the 2006 Stanley Cup. It was his empty-net goal in Game 7 against the Oilers that set off the party in Raleigh.

The birth of “Mr. Game 7,” Justin Williams

Williams was dealt to LA in 2009 and won two more Cups with the Kings and the 2014 Conn Smythe Trophy. Along the way, he earned the nickname “Mr. Game 7” for his exploits in series deciders. In nine career Game 7s, he recorded seven goals and 15 points and finishes with an 8-1 record. Those 15 points are the most by any player in a Game 7 in NHL history.

After two years with the Capitals, Williams returned to the Canes in 2017. Part of a culture change, he was influential in the birth of the post-win “Storm Surge”.

Williams finishes his career with 320 goals and 797 points. In the postseason, he had 41 goals and 102 points in 162 games. He’s one of nine players in NHL history to score 100 goals and win a Cup with two different teams.

“My family has sacrificed a lot for me to be where I am, so I want to thank my mom and dad for being there for me every step of the way,” he wrote. “My sister, Nikki, for being my biggest fan since day one. My wife, Kelly, and my kids Jaxon and Jade for embracing this journey with me. Life is so much better when you have people you love to share it with.

“Thank you everyone as I retire from pro hockey.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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