May 24, 2007 / 10:01 PM / 12 years ago

Leetch retires after 18-year career

Former New York Rangers and now Boston Bruins defenseman Brian Leetch acknowledges the cheers of the crowd at New York's Madison Square Garden before the Rangers' game against the Bruins in this file photo from March 20, 2006. Leetch announced his retirement on Thursday after an 18-year career as one of the National Hockey League's top defensemen. REUTERS/Mike Segar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Brian Leetch announced his retirement on Thursday after an 18-year career as one of the National Hockey League’s top defensemen.

Leetch, 39, won two Norris Trophies as the NHL’s top defenseman and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the New York Rangers’ run to the 1994 Stanley Cup championship.

He sat out the 2006-07 season, having last seen action with the Boston Bruins in 2005-06.

“I have been fortunate to be an NHL player since 1988,” Leetch said in a statement. “I missed being in the NHL this past season, but believe it was the right time for me to stop playing.”

The 11-times All-Star ended his career with 247 goals and 781 assists in 1,205 NHL games. He played more than 16 seasons with the Rangers and had a brief stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs before playing his final year in Boston.

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