New Jersey Devils great Patrik Elias has retired from the NHL, the Devils announced Friday morning.
Elias played all 18 seasons of his NHL career with New Jersey, and will retire as a two-time Stanley Cup Champion and the Devils all-time leader in goals, assists, and points.
The Devils will celebrate "Patrik Elias Week" over the final three home games this season, including Elias dropping the ceremonial puck on April 4, an open practice on April 7, and Elias participating in warm-ups during the April 8 home finale.
The Devils will retire Elias' no. 26 at a home game next season.
Elias released the following statement:
"After 18 seasons, I am pleased to announce that I will be retiring from the National Hockey League, having played my last game with the New Jersey Devils.
For the past few months, I have weighed this decision both physically and mentally. I am happy to say this provides me and my family with closure.
I came here 22 years ago to play hockey- to do what I loved since I was 5 years old. I was able to play with great teammates, embrace the camaraderie and team spirit of being a Devil, and bring home a Stanley Cup on two occasions.
I want to thank the ownership and management for not only supporting me, but allowing me the time to make this difficult decision. It is extraordinarily humbling that my number 26 will hang next to four of my former teammates. I am so proud to have played for one team, one organization over the course of my entire career.
I want to also thank my family and friends. Off the ice, you grow great relationships, and I've been here 22 years. I've been welcomed into the community and New Jersey has truly become a second home to me and my family.
To the fans, it is nice to know how much I meant to them, and I want them to know how much they have meant to me.
I am looking forward to this week, my last lap and next year's celebration.
Lastly, I want to express my love and thanks to my parents, my lovely wife, Petra, and my beautiful daughters, Sophia and Kaila."