Cam Ward retired from the NHL after signing a one-day contract with the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old goalie, who played his first 13 NHL seasons with the Hurricanes, was an unrestricted free agent after going 16-12-4 with a 3.67 goals-against average and .897 save percentage in 33 games (29 starts) for the Chicago Blackhawks last season.
As a rookie in 2005-06, Ward helped lead the Hurricanes to their only Stanley Cup championship, when they defeated the Edmonton Oilers in seven games in the Final, and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after going 15-8 with a 2.14 GAA, .920 save percentage and two shutouts.
"It was an honor and a privilege to wear the Hurricanes jersey for 13 years," Ward said. "Throughout it all, what stayed clear to me was my love for this organization, this city and this fan base. It is why my family and I call Raleigh home, and will continue to call it home. I appreciate all of the support the fans gave me throughout the highs and the lows. I thank you.
"I'd also like to thank the great teammates, coaches and staff members I worked with during my time as a player in Carolina. I will always treasure my memories as a player at PNC Arena, from winning the Stanley Cup (in 2006) to representing the organization in the All-Star Game. While this wasn't an easy decision, I'm looking forward to making the transition with my family and seeing what the future holds for me post career."
Video: Cam Ward joins NHL Tonight to discuss his retirement
Ward, who was selected by Carolina with the No. 25 pick in the 2002 NHL Draft, is 334-256-88 with a 2.74 GAA, .908 save percentage and 27 shutouts in 701 regular-season games (683 starts) with the Hurricanes and Blackhawks. He is 23-18 with a 2.38 GAA, .917 save percentage and four shutouts in 41 Stanley Cup Playoff games (39 starts), all with Carolina. He is the Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers leader in wins (318), shutouts (27), and games played (668) among goalies.
"Cam was a cornerstone for this organization for more than a decade," Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said. "From his 'Cam's Champs' program to his efforts with the Hurricanes Foundation and time spent teaching at our hockey camps, he had a tremendous impact on this community. We're proud that he has chosen to retire with the Carolina Hurricanes."