Martin Brodeur, one of the most decorated goaltenders in NHL history, officially announced his retirement as a player during a press conference at Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Thursday.
Brodeur, who played with the St. Louis Blues this season, will remain with the organization and was named as senior adviser to general manager Doug Armstrong.
"This is a great day for me," Brodeur said. "I'm excited to start a new chapter in my hockey career. It's something I've been thinking about."
The Montreal native set records for wins, shutouts and games played by a goaltender while playing the first 21 years of a spectacular 22-year career for the New Jersey Devils.
The 42-year-old was signed to a one-year contract by the Blues on Dec. 2 after a knee injury to starting goalie Brian Elliott left the team short at the position. He had been away from the Blues the past two weeks on a leave of absence before making public his desire to retire on Tuesday.
"I'm leaving the game with a big smile on my face," Brodeur said.
He said he is committed to remaining with the Blues organization through the end of this season. No decisions have been made beyond that regarding a future with either the Blues or Devils.
In an interview previously recorded with Blues Radio KMOX, Brodeur said he came to the decision after sitting down with family and friends.
"With the situation in St. Louis and having two healthy goalies, I knew my playing time would have been a little harder to get so I felt the timing [to retire] was the right thing," Brodeur said. "I took a step back and wanted to go home, talk it out with the people I trust.
"My family listened and said, 'Do what you want,' so that didn't help much, but the others I trust around the League helped and I knew it was my time."
Brodeur, 42, was 3-3-0 with a 2.87 goals-against average in seven games for the Blues. His final win and shutout came for the Blues, Dec. 29 against the Colorado Avalanche.
A 10-time NHL All-Star, Brodeur has won three Stanley Cup titles and led the NHL in wins nine times and shutouts on five different occasions. He also won the Vezina Trophy four times and the Jennings Trophy five times, while finishing in the top five of the Hart Trophy voting seven times.
He said the memories of his time in New Jersey, where he won the Stanley Cup three times (1995, 2000, 2003), will be cherished forever.
"Just the loyalty [the fans in New Jersey] brought to me throughout my career; I was there for a long time and was drafted by the Devils [in 1990]," Brodeur said. "I won the Stanley Cup and made good runs to other Cup championships that we failed to win. The support I had was fantastic. If you look at the tape of the last game I played last year in New Jersey, when everybody thought it would be my last game, it was a pretty emotional night for me. Everybody showed up."
His last game in a Devils jersey was April 13, 2014, a 16-save, 3-2 victory against the Boston Bruins at Prudential Center. Brodeur set NHL goaltending records in games (1,266), wins (691), shutouts (125), consecutive 20-win seasons (12), consecutive 30-win seasons (12), and consecutive 40-win seasons (three).
He thanked his teammates for his success.
"My teammates meant everything to me," he said. "That's one of the things Dad taught me. He said you need your teammates to love you, not like you. They are the ones who are going to block shots, make plays, so you don't want them mad at you. That's something I always kept in the back of my mind."
Brodeur's father, Denis Brodeur, was a former team photographer for the Montreal Canadiens and goalie for the 1956 Canadian Olympic team. He died Sept. 26, 2013 at the age of 82. Martin Brodeur said the one snapshot that his dad took of him that will forever be engrained in his head is him lifting the Stanley Cup after the first championship in 1995.
"My passion drove me to be the player I was," Brodeur said. "What helped me was the way I played the game; I played the puck a lot, so sometimes I would face 15 or 16 shots, but probably had 30 to 35 touches so that kept me in every game. I also had the luxury of playing behind some great defensemen and had great defensive coaches."