Denver, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - Former Colorado Avalanche forward Milan Hejduk officially called it a career on Monday, announcing his retirement after 14 NHL seasons.
Hejduk spent his entire career with the Avalanche, but went unsigned at the start of the 2013-14 season and reports had circulated in November that he would hang up his skates.
The 38-year-old Czech native did just that on Monday.
"I was fortunate to play many years at this level with a great organization and unbelievable teammates," said Hejduk. "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."
Hejduk appeared in just 29 games during the shortened 2013 season and posted a mere four goals with 11 points.
Selected in the fourth round of the 1994 draft while the franchise was still based in Quebec City, Hejduk remains the only player in Avalanche history to appear in 1,000 games, suiting up 1,020 times overall. The only other franchise player to reach that milestone was Joe Sakic, who appeared in 508 with Quebec and 870 with Colorado (1,378 total).
"Milan was one of the most humble players I ever had the privilege of competing with," said Sakic, now the club's vice president of hockey operations. "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."
Hejduk reached the 20-goal mark in 11 consecutive seasons and ranks fourth in franchise history with 375 goals and 805 points. He appeared in three All-Star Games and helped the Avalanche to the 2001 Stanley Cup title.
Only two other Czech-born players have registered more points in the NHL -- Jaromir Jagr (1,737) and Patrik Elias (963). He also won an Olympic gold medal with the Czech Republic at the 1998 Nagano Games.