Matt Cullen retires after 21 seasons
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) July 10, 2019
- Veteran forward Matt Cullen announced his retirement after 21 NHL seasons on Wednesday.
- Cullen last suited up for the Pittsburgh Penguins, but also had stints with the Anaheim Ducks, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, New York Rangers, and Ottawa Senators after being drafted 35th overall in 1996.
- The 42-year-old was the oldest player in the league last season, and his retirement gives way for Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara to take over that title.
“I’ve been in a constant state of almost-retirement for the last few years,” Cullen wrote on the Penguins’ website. “But coming into this last season, I knew that no matter what it would be the end. Even if we had won the Cup I would have been done. Playing those last few years really gave me the clarity to know this was it.
“It was an emotional time, but I knew it was coming. It just felt right and I was really at peace with everything when it was over.”
“I felt like it was only right to retire in Pittsburgh with everything that the organization had given me and done for me,” Cullen wrote. “‘m so happy I came back and finished my last year in Pittsburgh. I wouldn’t trade that last year for anything.
“I remember waking up in the middle of the night many times these last few years thinking, ‘What am I doing? I’m 40 years old. I don’t think I can play another year in the NHL.’ After each time I signed the past few years I woke up in a cold sweat, not sure if I could still play.
- Players, family members, media and teams from around the league shared their tributes on Twitter to congratulate the 42-year-old on a fine career.
Congrats to former #Preds forward Matt Cullen on a great 21-season career.
(2017 season not included, of course 🙄)
Enjoy retirement! pic.twitter.com/PPzfb789lz
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) July 10, 2019
Congratulations to Matt Cullen on an incredible career!
Best of luck in retirement, Matt. pic.twitter.com/hQTDO4M1Aa
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) July 10, 2019
👍Thanks for the memories Dad!
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) July 10, 2019
With 21 NHL seasons, 1,516 regular-season games and 731 points, Matt Cullen retires a 3x #StanleyCup Champion. Congratulations to Matt on an outstanding career, and all the best in retirement! pic.twitter.com/mA6s5NQhaU
— NHLPA (@NHLPA) July 10, 2019
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