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Veteran Prospal formally announces retirement @NHLdotcom

Forward Vinny Prospal, who played 16 seasons in the NHL, formally announced his retirement Tuesday.

Prospal was expected to join the Vancouver Canucks' American Hockey League affiliate this past weekend on a professional tryout contract, but had a change in heart.

"I can confirm that this is the end of my career," Prospal told Czech website "I found out that I wouldn't be able to give 100 percent to hockey anymore."

Prospal, who turns 39 on Feb. 17, had 255 goals and 765 points in 1,108 career NHL games, including 12 goals and 30 points in 48 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season.

Selected in the third round (No. 71) of the 1993 NHL Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers, Prospal had five 20-goal seasons and more than 50 points on nine occasions. He had 10 goals and 35 points in 65 playoff games. His best offensive season was 2005-06 when he had a career-high 80 points (25 goals) with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In his final NHL season, 2012-13, he led the Blue Jackets in scoring with 30 points.

"I want to thank my teammates and coaches who helped me enjoy a 20-year professional hockey career when very few thought I would play even one NHL game," Prospal said in a release posted on the NHL Players' Association website. "I sincerely want to thank the fans who have been so good to me, treating me with such kindness and respect, for the 20 years I have played here in North America in both the NHL and the AHL. Playing in the NHL was a dream. To play at the highest level for 16 years, with the best players in the world is something I will cherish for the rest of my life."

Prospal, who is married and has three children, played for seven different NHL teams during his NHL tenure.

"I loved playing hockey, I loved scoring goals and I loved being a part of the NHL for so many years," he said. "I want to thank all of the teams I have played with for having the faith in me they did. I especially want to thank the Vancouver Canucks, with whom I have never played a game for, and my coach and friend, John Tortorella, for helping me have closure that would not have occurred had they not extended to me the opportunity they did last week. I appreciate Torts and the Canucks for their faith in me and am sorry I will not be reunited with one of the most influential people in my life in Torts as we had planned."

Prospal had been scheduled to join Utica for games Friday and Saturday against the Abbotsford Heat, who play about a one-hour drive outside of Vancouver.

"After further thought and talking with his family, Vinny Prospal has informed Canucks that he's retiring and won't be joining Utica on PTO," the team announced Saturday via its official Twitter account.

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