Peca retires after 13 seasons in NHL

BY foxsports • January 20, 2010

Michael Peca is retiring after 13 seasons as one of the top two-way forwards in the NHL.

The 35-year-old center called it quits Tuesday after going unsigned this offseason.

``I'm not sad by any means,'' Peca said. ``Several months ago, I came to the decision I wasn't going to play anymore. Today's really just a day that I made a public statement. For me, it was so every time I run into old friends, they quit asking me if I'm done or not.

``Now they've got the answer,'' he said. ``It's kind of like a mass e-mail.''

Peca spent last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He received some interest from Western Conference teams, but was reluctant to move far from his family's home near Buffalo.

An opportunity in the East fell through just before the start of training camp.

``I wasn't going to uproot my family again,'' Peca said. ``I was very selective, maybe so selective to the point that realistically I knew that there probably wouldn't be an opportunity.''

Peca was part of two Stanley Cup finalists - the 1999 Buffalo Sabres and 2006 Edmonton Oilers. He won gold with Team Canada at the 2002 Olympics.

A two-time winner of the Selke trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward, Peca was honored to call himself an Olympic champion but drew his greatest satisfaction from the two Cup runs.

``Even though the Olympic gold medal was the one where I was fortunate enough to be successful, the Stanley Cup runs were actually more fruitful for me from the emotional standpoint,'' Peca said. ``This is guys that have slugged it out for five, six months and now we've got to go another two months together to try and accomplish the greatest prize.''

Peca's teams fell just short both times. The Sabres lost Game 6 in triple overtime to Dallas on a controversial goal by Brett Hull, while the Oilers dropped Game 7 in Carolina.

``I don't for one second look back and regret anything that happened,'' Peca said. ``There's no doubt that I go can go through different situations in my career that I wish turned out differently, but they all happened for their own certain purpose. And I don't regret anything for one second.''

In 864 games with Columbus, Vancouver, Toronto and the New York Islanders, he had 176 goals and 465 points.

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