Hockey

Brett Hull announces his retirement

The Golden Brett calls it quits after 19 seasons.

Brett Hull has called it a career after 19 NHL seasons.

Feeling he could no longer play at the level he expected from himself, the 41-year-old Phoenix Coyotes right-winger announced his retirement Saturday prior to the club's home game against the Detroit Red Wings.

"I am very proud of what I have accomplished in my career, but at 41, I felt that it was time to move on," Hull said at a press conference. "I love the game of hockey and I appreciate everything the game has given to me and my family."

"I had so much fun coming to the rink day after day," said Hull, his voice choking with emotion.

"I wish no one had to do this because it's so hard, it's hard because you never think you're going to grow older and be unable to live up to the expectations you set for yourself. I just thank everyone who ever touched my life in the game."

The third all-time scorer in NHL history, Hull first discussed retiring with Coyotes head coach Wayne Gretzky and GM Mike Barnett after Thursday night's 5-4 loss to the Nashville Predators.

With one assist in five games this season, Hull decided that enough was enough and told Barnett and Gretzky Saturday morning that he wanted to walk away from the game.

Only Gretzky (894) and Gordie Howe (801) have scored more goals than Hull (741).

"The National Hockey League will miss Brett's skill, his scoring touch and his fun-loving attitude," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. "He was a splendid athlete, a passionate player and someone who never hesitated to speak his mind. His achievements further cement the Hull family legacy of hockey greatness."

The son of Hall of Famer Bobby Hull, Brett was drafted in the sixth round by the Calgary Flames in 1984 and played 19 seasons in the NHL for Calgary, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars and Detroit before signing with Phoenix last August.

After being traded by the Flames to the Blues, he became one of the most dangerous snipers in the NHL, scoring more than 50 goals in five consecutive seasons with St. Louis from 1989 to 1994.

A nine-time all-star, Hull led the NHL in goals for three consecutive seasons beginning in 1989-90. He also posted the third-highest single-season goal total in NHL history with 86 during the 1990-91 season, the same year he won the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP.

Hull was a clutch player in the post-season, scoring 103 goals in 202 playoff games, including the Stanley Cup-clincher for Dallas against the Buffalo Sabres in 1999.

He also won a Stanley Cup ring with Detroit in 2002.

Aside from a brilliant NHL career, Hull distinguished himself in international hockey, helping the U.S. upset Canada to win the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996. Hull was also a key member of the American team that won silver at the 2002 Salt Lake Games.

Although born in Belleville, Ont., Hull decided to play for the U.S. internationally.

In 1,264 NHL games, Hull amassed 741 goals and 649 assists for 1,390 points and is expected to join his legendary father in the Hall of Fame once he becomes eligible.