Forward Paul Kariya announces his retirement after 15-year NHL career

WINNIPEG - Forward Paul Kariya announced his retirement Wednesday, ending a 15-year NHL career.

The free agent sat out last season with post-concussion syndrome. Kariya had 43 points (18 goals, 25 assists) in 75 games with the St. Louis Blues in 2009-'10.

He announced his retirement through a statement from his agent.

“Today, I announce my retirement from professional hockey," Kariya said. "I would like to thank all of those who have been part of so many great memories – my teammates, coaches, team management and staff.

"I am also very grateful for the support I have received over the years from the fans, especially those in Anaheim, Colorado, Nashville, and St. Louis."

Over his career, the two-time Lady Byng Trophy winner finished with 402 goals and 587 assists. The Vancouver native won Olympic gold for Canada at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

"It was my dream to be a professional hockey player in the NHL from my minor hockey days in North Vancouver and Burnaby, through junior hockey in Penticton, college hockey at the University of Maine, and the Canadian national team.

"I would not have achieved it without support from all of these people and organizations.”

Kariya missed six games in December and January of the 2009-'10 season because of a concussion and announced last August that he would sit out the entire 2010-'11 season after being examined by concussion specialist Dr. Mark Lovell.

Kariya has a long history of concussion troubles, including one that forced him to miss the 1998 Winter Olympics and much of the 1997-'98 season following a cross-check to the jaw by Chicago's Gary Suter.

Kariya had 39 points (16-23) in 46 career playoff games.