Milan Hejduk made it official today. He's retiring from professional hockey, having spent his entire career with the Colorado Avalanche. He recorded 375 goals and 430 assists for 805 points in a 1,020 career games.
"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."
Of all the players on the Avs to fly under the radar in achievements, Hejduk has to be tops on the list. Did you know that
- he was the first player in Avalanche history to play 1,000 career regular season games in an Avs' sweater?
- he's only the second player in franchise history to reach that 1,000-game mark with the franchise?
- he ranks fourth in franchise history in both goals and points?
- he ranks fifth in franchise history in assists?
- he ranks second in goals in Avalanche history (Sakic is first with 392)?
- he holds the franchise record for regular-season overtime goals at 9?
- he ranks second in franchise history for game-winning tallies at 59 (only Sakic, 86, ranks higher)?
- his 140 power play goals rank third in franchise history?
- he has scored more shootout goals than any other player in Avalanche history?
- he reached the 20-goal mark in 11 consecutive seasons, averaging 31 goals per year? Only Joe Sakic has done the same in franchise history.
- only Jarome Iginla (422), Marian Hossa (373) and Ilya Kovalchuck (369) scored more goals in the NHL during that time frame than Hejduk (343)?
- he won the franchise's first Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer (50 goals in 2002-2003)?
- he played in three All-Star games and was nominated for the Calder Trophy?
- he ranks third in goals and points for all Czech-born players in NHL history, beaten only by Jaromir Jagr and Patrik Elias?
- he is third in playoff goals in franchise history?
- he is fourth in playoff points in franchise history?
- he is fifth in playoff assists and games played in franchise history?
- he is the Pepsi center's all-time point leader with 188 goals and 397 points in 466 games?
- he is a three-time Olympian, winning gold in 1998 and bronze in 2006?
- he had the best goal celebration of any player in franchise history?
As Joe Sakic said, though, Hejduk was not one to brag bout his accomplishments.
"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."
Milan was a fourth round pick of the Quebec Nordiques (87th overall) in the 1994 Entry Draft and a member of the 2001 Stanley Cup champions. He captained the Avalanche in the 2011-2012 season, only the third player to hold that honor.