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November 19, 2009

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Forward Shanahan retires after 21 NHL seasons

Brendan Shanahan is retiring from the National Hockey League after 21 seasons and an almost certain Hall of Fame career.

The 40-year-old forward announced on Tuesday he wouldn't play again. After going through training camp with the New Jersey Devils, the team he spent his final season with, he and the club mutually parted unexpectedly shortly before opening night of the season.

"I would like to thank my family and all of the friends who have helped me achieve and maintain my childhood dream of playing in the National Hockey League," Shanahan said in a statement. "While I always dreamed of playing in the NHL, I can't honestly say that I would have ever imagined that I'd be this fortunate and blessed. I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has helped me fulfill this dream."

Shanahan, who scored 656 career goals, decided to leave the Devils in October one day after he was told there was no spot for him on New Jersey's top three lines.

Shanahan ranks 11th on the league's career goals list and is the only player with 600 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes.

Shanahan was a member of three Stanley Cup winners -- all with the Detroit Red Wings -- and recorded 1,354 points in 1,524 NHL games.

His greatest contribution, however, may have been organizing what became known as the "Shanahan Summit" during the 2004-05 NHL lockout, bringing together many of hockey's greatest minds to find ways to make the game more attractive.

It sparked a number of rule changes and improvements that helped open up the game -- bringing back speed and creativity to a sport plagued by clutching, grabbing and fighting.

Taken with the second overall pick in the 1987 NHL draft by New Jersey, Shanahan started and finished his career with the Devils and in-between had stints with the St Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, Red Wings and New York Rangers. An eight-time all-star, he appeared in the playoffs in 19 of his 21 seasons.

Shanahan is also one of only 22 players, and one of just four Canadians, in the "triple gold" club of players who have won the Stanley Cup and Olympic and world championships.


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