Veteran goalie Olaf Kolzig retires
Veteran goalie Olaf Kolzig announced Wednesday his retirement after 14 seasons in the NHL.
"I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to play the game of hockey at the NHL level for many seasons and I am grateful for everything the game has given me," he said in a release.
"I would like to thank my family, all my teammates and the fans for making my time in the NHL so special."
Known affectionately as Godzilla, because of his imposing presence in the crease, and Olie the Goalie, Kolzig is a two-time all-star and earned the Vezina Trophy in 2000 as the NHL's best goaltender.
"While I appreciate everything the game has given me and certainly will miss it, I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and remaining involved in hockey in some capacity," Kolzig said.
He was one of the league's elite goaltenders in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and carried the Capitals on his back during a run to the Stanley Cup final in 1997-98. Kolzig had four shutouts and had a 1.95 goals-against average in that year's playoffs as Washington was swept in the final by the Detroit Red Wings.
His 1999-2000 season was his best statistically. Kolzig had 41 wins, five shutouts and a 2.24 GAA. He was a first-team all-star that year and captured his only Vezina honour at the end of the season.
An injury limited his playing time to only eight games for Tampa Bay in 2008-09. The Lightning dumped salaries at the deadline and Kolzig was part of the purge, as he was traded to Toronto while on the injured list. He didn't play a game for the Leafs.
Overall, the 39-year-old appeared in 719 games and won 303 of them, putting him 21st on the all-time wins list for goaltenders. He had a career GAA of 2.71 and a .906 save percentage with 35 shutouts.
Kolzig suited up for most of those contests in a Capitals jersey, as he spent 13 full seasons with Washington and played 711 games overall for the club. He became one of the most popular players in Capitals history.
When Washington picked Kolzig 19th overall in the 1989 draft, he became the first South African-born player to be drafted into the NHL. He spent his junior years in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans.
He also holds German citizenship, and that allowed him to compete in a number of international competitions, including the 1998 and 2006 Olympics, the World Cup of Hockey (1996, 2004) and the world championships (1997, 2004).
In 2006, Kolzig co-founded Athletes Against Autism with former NHLers Byron Dafoe and Scott Mellanby. He was honoured with the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in the same year for his leadership qualities and humanitarian contributions.