After 18 seasons in the National Hockey League, Bobby Holik's career has come to an end.
''I'm done. I'm retiring,'' he told the New York Post on Friday. ''I miss being with my family every day. I knew when the season ended, but I wanted to leave and get home first, and not make a big deal of it.
''A player is what I was. Now I'm a husband and a father.''
A first-round (10th overall) draft pick of the Hartford Whalers in 1989, the 38-year old Holik spent two seasons with the team before being traded to the New Jersey Devils where he played the next 10 seasons.
In 2002, Holik signed a $9 million per season contract with the New York Rangers and played two seasons in The Big Apple before being bought out. He signed with Atlanta for three seasons and was captain of the Thrashers before returning to New Jersey last year.
Helping the Devils win their first Stanley Cup in 1995 and again 2000, Holik played 786 games with New Jersey, seventh all-time, and was 202-270-472, with 883 penalty minutes and plus-134-rating. The workhorse appeared in every game last season for the sixth time in his NHL career.
''The No. 1 reason I'm retiring is to be with my family and see my daughter,'' he told The Post. ''That's too much to give up again. The No. 2 reason is that I don't have to retire, so I'm very fortunate.
''It feels right, and every day it feels more right.''