"I was fortunate to play many years at this level with a great organization and unbelievable teammates," Hejduk said in a statement released by the Avalanche. "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."
Last season Hejduk had 11 points in 29 games. He was an unrestricted free agent this summer but has not played this season.
Hejduk, 38, had 375 goals and 430 assists in 1,020 games with the Avalanche. He's the only player since the team moved to Colorado to play 1,000 games in an Avalanche jersey. He was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in the fourth round of the 1994 NHL Draft (No. 87) and he joined the team for the 1998-99 season. In the history of the Nordiques/Avalanche, Hejduk is second in games played, and fourth in goals and points.
Hejduk had 20 goals in a season 11 straight seasons, had at least 30 in a season five times and his 50 goals in 2002-03 won him the Rocket Richard Trophy. He made the League's All-Rookie team after totaling 48 points in 82 games in 1998-99 and skated in three NHL All-Star Games.
"Milan was one of the most humble players I ever had the privilege of competing with," Sakic, the Avalanche's executive vice President of hockey operations, said. "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 also had 34 goals and 76 points in 112 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and in 2000-01 tied for second in the League in playoff scoring with 23 points as the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup.
A native of Usti, Czech Republic, Hejduk also ranks third all-time in goals and points among Czech-born players. He was part of the Czech team that won the gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, the first one featuring NHL players. He also won the bronze medal at the 2006 Turin Olympics.
Also wanna congratulate Hedjy on an outstanding career! You were a great line mate, teammate, mentor and still a great friend. All the best!— Matt Duchene (@Matt9Duchene) February 24, 2014
Congrats to Hejjy on a amazing career! What a great player and even better guy. #sickmitts— Erik Johnson (@6ErikJohnson) February 24, 2014
Congrats to my ex teammate Milan Hejduk on a great career . Great teammate .— Lappy (@dooda1414) February 24, 2014