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Longtime Edmonton Oiler Ryan Smyth announces retirement after 18 NHL seasons

Friday, 04.11.2014 / 4:15 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Longtime Edmonton Oiler Ryan Smyth announces retirement after 18 NHL seasons

EDMONTON - Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Smyth says he will retire at the end of the season.

The NHL veteran, who was also a stalwart on Team Canada, was drafted sixth overall by Edmonton in 1994 and spent most of his 18-season career in Alberta's capital.

He mixed grit with a scoring touch and became the face of the post-Wayne Gretzky Oilers, leading the team to a Stanley Cup final appearance in 2006.

He has 386 goals and 456 assists in 1,269 games heading into Edmonton's season finale against the visiting Vancouver Canucks.

He also earned the nickname "Captain Canada" for his loyalty to Canada's men's national team.

He helped Canada win gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics and represented his country at the world hockey championship seven straight times during his prime.

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He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.

— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers