Matt Cullen, who was the oldest player in the NHL last year, retired Wednesday at age 42.
The forward played 21 seasons in the NHL, such as last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, when he had 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 71 regular-season games.
“It was an emotional time, but that I knew that it was coming,” Cullen informed NHL.com. “It just felt right, and that I was actually at peace with everything when it was over.
“I felt as though it was just right to retire in Pittsburgh with all that the organization had given me and done for me. I’m so glad I completed my last year at Pittsburgh and came back. I would not trade that previous year for anything.”
Cullen’s first stint with the Penguins was from 2015 when he helped Pittsburgh to Stanley Cup titles. Cullen also hoisted the Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, when he scored a career-high 25 targets.
He ranks 19th in NHL history — and secondly among U.S.-born players — in games played (1,516). The Minnesota native played for eight teams, amassing 731 points (266 goals, 465 aids ). Cullen was a selection of the Anaheim Ducks in the 1996 draft, making his NHL debut during the 1997-98 season.
“I am thankful for every single game, every second, everything this game has given me. … It’s difficult to believe that this is the end, but I am,” Cullen said.
“I might have skated my final change, but I am not hanging my skates up just yet. For me to have the ability to take (my sons) into the rink and play with them on the ice, as a dad, that’s as good as it gets”
–Field Level Media