Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist announced his retirement on Friday, ending a 15-year NHL career. The announcement comes less than nine months after the 39-year-old underwent heart surgery.
“For the last 30 years, I have devoted my life to the game of hockey … and now it’s time to walk away from the game I love and begin a new chapter. The future excites me. I’ve met so many amazing people over the years that will help to guide and inspire me in my new journey,” he wrote in a statement.
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Lundqvist starred for the New York Rangers for years, where he piled up 459 wins along with a a 2.43 goals-against average and 64 shutouts in 15 seasons. He is sixth in NHL history in wins, seventh in saves (23,509), eighth in games played (887), ninth in starts (871), ninth in time on ice (51,816:51) and 17th in shutouts.
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Lundqvist signed a one-year contract with the Washington Capitals last year but never took the ice after announcing he had a heart condition, for which he underwent surgery in January.
“There are many things I love about the game: From the excitement I felt as an 8-year-old at my first practice to the 15 years of butterflies I had every time I took the ice in the greatest city in the world. I’m extremely grateful for what hockey has brought me and taught me in life. These lessons will never leave me,” he wrote.
The New York Rangers also released a statement saying the retirement was met with mixed emotions.
“It is with mixed emotions that the New York Rangers offer our best wishes and heartfelt gratitude to Henrik Lundqvist on the announcement of his retirement. Henrik’s commitment to excellence made him one of the best goaltenders to ever play the game of hockey, and we are so fortunate to have witnessed his greatness firsthand for 15 years. … Henrik is, and always will be, a Ranger,” the team said.
With inputs from Associated Press