Defenseman Bret Hedican, who played 51 games for the Ducks in 2008-09 before injuries cut short his season, is retiring from the NHL.
The Minnesota native told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “Looking back, I remember Curt Giles saying my first year, ‘Bret, enjoy every day because it’s going to go by really quick. I remember thinking that’s crazy. Now looking back at my 17 years, man, it flew by. I’m really happy at my career and have no regrets.”
Hedican led the Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup championship in 2007. From his home in the Northern California city of Alamo, Hedican told the Raleigh News and Observer that his heart is still in Raleigh: “The one thing I really am sad about is that I didn’t retire a Hurricane. I really wanted to. I wish it was possible to sign a one-day contract. I’d pay [general manager] Jimmy [Rutherford] to let me sign for a dollar and put the jersey on again.”
The Ducks did not renew Hedican’s contract after last season. The 39-year-old hinted strongly at retiring after Detroit eliminated the Ducks in the second round of the playoffs in May.
Drafted by St. Louis in 1988, Hedican collected 294 points in 1,039 regular-season games for the Blues, Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, Hurricanes and Ducks. He played another 108 playoff games and participated in two Olympics for the United States in 1992 and 2006.
Hedican was recognized at Honda Center along with his wife, Olympic gold-medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, and their two daughters, after playing in his 1,000th career game last season.