RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Carolina Hurricanes forward Justin Williams is retiring after 19 NHL seasons and three Stanley Cup championships.
Williams announced his retirement in a statement Thursday after spending his final three seasons in a second stint with Carolina, where he won the Cup for the first time in 2006.
“Since I first broke into the league a day after my 19th birthday back in 2000, this game has brought me so much that I will never be able to repay it,” Williams said. “The countless experiences, relationships, lessons and hardships will remain with me forever as I move on to the next stage of my life.
“I’ve never once taken for granted the privilege it is to be able to play a game for a living, and that is probably why I was able to play it professionally for as long as I have.”
The 39-year-old Williams had 320 goals and 477 assists for 797 points in 1,264 games with the Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals. He helped the Kings with the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs’ most valuable player for the 2014 title run.
Williams had seven goals and eight assists in nine career Game 7s, earning him the nickname “Mr. Game 7.” The 15 career points in Game 7s are the most by any player in NHL history, while Williams' teams went 8-1 in those games.
Most recently, Williams served as captain for the Hurricanes during the 2018-19 season, helping the franchise return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. He stepped away from the sport last fall before ultimately deciding to re-sign with Carolina in January for a final playoff run.
The Hurricanes appeared in the postseason as the NHL returned following a pause due to the coronavirus pandemic. They swept the New York Rangers in a Stanley Cup qualifier series before falling to the Boston Bruins in a five-game first-round series, with Williams scoring a goal in Game 4 and playing his final game Aug. 19.
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