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Former Avalanche forward Milan Hejduk officially announces his retirement

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After not playing this season, former Colorado Avalanche captain Milan Hejduk officially announced his retirement 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.”

Hejduk was originally selected by the Quebec Nordiques in the fourth round of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. He did not join the organization until five years later, after they had become the Colorado Avalanche.

Now 38, Hejduk spent all of his 14 NHL seasons in Colorado. Last season, he became the only player to play 1,000 regular season games with the Avalanche. Hejduk currently ranks fourth in franchise history in both points (805) and goals (375. He also ranks second in game-winning goals (58) fifth in assists (430).

“Milan was one of the most humble players I ever had the privilege of competing with,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic. “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 tied Sakic’s franchise record with 11 consecutive seasons with at least 20 goals. The three-time all-star won the Maurice Richard Trophy after leading the NHL in goals (50) during the 2002-2003 season,; a year in which he also lead the league in plus/minus.

A champion at every level, not only did Hejduk capture a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001; the three-time Olympian also earned a gold medal (1998), and won the Czech Extraliga championship after rejoining HC Pardubice (the team he played for prior to beginning his NHL) during the 2004-2005 NHL lockout.

Hejduk leaves the game trailing only Jaromir Jagr and Patrik Elias in scoring amongst players born in the Czech Republic. He and his wife Zlatuse still live in the Denver suburbs and have twin 10-year-old sons, David and Marek.