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Avalanche Signs Hejduk

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed forward Milan Hejduk to a one-year contract through the 2012-13 season.

The upcoming 2012-13 campaign will mark Hejduk’s 14th NHL season, all of which has been spent with the Avalanche.  He enters the year just nine games shy of becoming the first player in Colorado Avalanche history to appear in 1,000 games.  The only other franchise player to reach 1,000 contests was Joe Sakic, who appeared in 508 with Quebec and 870 with Colorado (1,378 total).

“Over the years, Milan has been an instrumental part of our organization’s success,” said Avalanche General Manager/Executive Vice President Greg Sherman.  “He has represented this franchise with class and will continue to complement the young nucleus of players we have been building this team around.”

Hejduk has tallied 371 goals and 423 assists for 794 points in 991 career games.  He ranks fourth in franchise history in goals and points, and sits fifth in assists.  Hejduk is the franchise record holder with nine regular season overtime goals, while his 59 career game-winning tallies rank second.  He is third in power-play goals with 138.  The Usti-nad Labem, Czech Republic native reached the 20-goal mark in 11 consecutive seasons from 1999-00 to 2010-11, tying Sakic’s franchise record.

“My family and I are very excited to continue my career here in Denver,” said Hejduk.  “I believe in this organization and our young players and look forward to helping the team in any way that I can.”

In NHL history, only two Czech-born players have registered more points, Jaromir Jagr (1,653) and Patrik Elias (894).  Hejduk’s 371 goals are the second-most by a Czech-born player behind Jagr’s 665.  Milan ranks 11th among active players and tied for 107th place on the all-time goals list.  Since the start of the 1999-2000 season, only four NHL players have scored more times than Hejduk’s 357: Jarome Iginla (454), Ilya Kovalchuk (406), Marian Hossa (402) and Vincent Lecavalier (360).

Originally selected by the Quebec Nordiques in the fourth round (87th overall) of the 1994 Entry Draft, Hejduk helped the Avalanche win the 2001 Stanley Cup championship.  He captured the franchise’s first-ever Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal scorer with 50 in 2002-03.  Hejduk was named to the NHL’s Second All-Star Team in 2002-03 and was a Calder Trophy finalist and a member of the NHL All-Rookie Team in 1998-99.  Hejduk has competed in three NHL All-Star Games: 2000, 2001 and 2009.

Hejduk was named team captain on Nov. 14, 2011, becoming the third captain in Avalanche history alongside Sakic and Adam Foote.  Overall, he became the 10th different captain in franchise history and second European-born (Peter Stastny).

In franchise playoff history, Hejduk is tied for third in goals (34), ranks fourth in points (76) and is fifth in both assists (42) and games played (112).  He is Pepsi Center’s all-time leader with 186 goals and 392 points in 451 games at the Avalanche’s home rink. 

A three-time Olympian, Hejduk won a gold medal with the Czech Republic at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan and a bronze medal at the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy.

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