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Jets' Clitsome retires because of back injury

Winnipeg defenseman had 71 points in seven NHL seasons @NHLdotcom

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Grant Clitsome announced his retirement Wednesday because of a lingering back injury.

"It is with great regret that today I announce my retirement from hockey due to a back injury," Clitsome told the Jets website. "It's tough when something unexpected, and out of your control, suddenly ends your career. Despite the circumstances, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to fulfill my childhood dream and play in the NHL."

Clitsome, 31, last played on Jan. 3, 2015, and missed the remainder of the season after having back surgery later that month. 

Clitsome played seven seasons in the NHL, including the past four with the Jets. He was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the ninth round (No. 271) of the 2004 NHL Draft and played his first three seasons for Columbus. He had 15 goals and 56 assists in 205 NHL games.

"I am also very grateful for all the great people that I have met, and all the friendships that I have made playing hockey," he said. "I would like to thank my family and friends for all of their love and support over the years. I would like to thank the Columbus Blue Jackets organization for drafting me and giving me an opportunity to start my professional career. I would also like to thank the Winnipeg Jets organization for me treating me so well from Day One. It truly was a special place to play and I'm proud to retire as a Jet."

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