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Cullen announces retirement after 21 NHL seasons

Forward won Stanley Cup three times, played in 1,516 games for eight teams @NHLdotcom

Matt Cullen retired from the NHL on Wednesday.

The 42-year-old forward played 21 seasons in the League, including last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins when he had 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 71 regular-season games and no points in four Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"It was an emotional time, but I knew it was coming," Cullen told the Penguins website. "It just felt right and I was really at peace with everything when it was over.

"I felt like it was only right to retire in Pittsburgh with everything that the organization had given me and done for me. I'm so happy I came back and finished my last year in Pittsburgh. I wouldn't trade that last year for anything."

Video: Cullen retires after 21 seasons in the NHL

Cullen, who was the oldest player in the NHL last season, is 19th in NHL history in games with 1,516, second-most among United States-born players to Chris Chelios (1,651). Cullen won the Stanley Cup three times, with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017.

"I'll always have the Cups and those memories. But when I think back on those times, what really stands out is watching my boys with those guys," Cullen said. "That, for me, was the coolest thing ever to watch. It was like the boys were part of the family. ... Those are the memories I'll treasure probably more than anything. Just seeing them around the room every day. I know the boys will remember it forever."

Selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round (No. 35) in the 1996 NHL Draft, Cullen had 731 points (266 goals, 465 assists) with the Ducks, Florida Panthers, Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators and Penguins. He had 58 points (19 goals, 39 assists) in 132 playoff games.

"As I take this time to retire, I look back over the last 42 years of my life and the one thing I want to say the most is thank you," Cullen said. "Thank you to everyone who made my dreams possible. I'm grateful for every game, every moment, everything this game has given me. ... It's hard to believe that this is the end, but here I am.

"I may have skated my last shift, but I'm not hanging up my skates just yet. For me to be able to take [my sons] to the rink and play with them on the ice, as a dad, that's as good as it gets. I couldn't ask for more. That's what I had as a kid and to be able to share it with my kids is my greatest joy."

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