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Veteran defenseman Kubina announces retirement

Friday, 12.20.2013 / 9:41 AM / News

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Veteran defenseman Kubina announces retirement
Veteran NHL defenseman Pavel Kubina announces retirement.

Defenseman Pavel Kubina, a 14-year NHL veteran and Stanley Cup winner with the Tampa Bay Lightning, has announced his retirement.

Kubina last played in the NHL during the 2011-12 season, which he split between the Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers. He played briefly last season in the Swiss-A league.

"Making my way to the NHL and playing in the best league in the world for 13 seasons has been a dream come true. I will be forever grateful for the experiences and friendships that I have gained over the course of my career, including capturing the Stanley Cup in Tampa in 2004," said Kubina. "Thank you to Phil Esposito for drafting me and giving me a chance to play for the Lightning. I also would like to thank my family and friends for their support throughout my hockey journey."

A seventh-round pick (No. 179) by Tampa Bay in the 1996 NHL Draft, Kubina debuted with the Lightning during the 1997-98 season and played there through the 2005-06 campaign. He spent three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and one with the Atlanta Thrashers before returning for a second stint with the Lightning starting in 2010-11.

Kubina played 970 career NHL games, scoring 110 goals with 276 assists and recording 1,123 penalty minutes. He also played in 51 Stanley Cup Playoff games, 22 of which came in 2004 when the Lightning won the franchise's first Stanley Cup.

Internationally, Kubina represented the Czech Republic in every major hockey championship. He played for his country three times in the Olympics (2002, 2006, 2010), highlighted by a bronze medal finish in 2006; he was a member of three gold medal-winning teams in four trips to the IIHF World Championship (1999, 2001, 2002, 2005); he played once in the World Cup of Hockey (2004); and he also played in the World Junior Championship (1995).

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I look forward to the process, the battle, the pain, the fun, the journey.  It's going to be a long one but it's going to be a lot of fun. If you think there is no pain coming, there is pain coming.

— Mike Babcock, introduced as coach of the Toronto on Thursday, had a warning for fans