Kubina retires after 13 seasons

Philadelphia Flyers Jagr is congratulated by teammate Kubina after he scored the game winning goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period of Game 2 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarter-final hockey game in Pittsburgh
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Philadelphia Flyers Jaromir Jagr (L) is congratulated by teammate Pavel Kubina after he scored the game winning goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period of Game 2 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarter-final hockey game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania April 13, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Cohn

(Reuters) - Czech defenseman Pavel Kubina, a Stanley Cup champion, All-Star and three-time Olympian has announced his retirement from the National Hockey League after 13 seasons, the players association said on Friday.

"Making my way to the NHL and playing in the best league in the world for 13 seasons has been a dream come true," said Kubina in a statement released by the NHLPA.

"I will be forever grateful for the experiences and friendships that I have gained over the course of my career, including capturing the Stanley Cup in Tampa in 2004."

Taken by Tampa Bay in the seventh round of the 1996 draft, Kubina played 970 NHL games with the Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers, scoring 110 goals and making 276 assists.

The big defenseman also played in three Olympics for the Czech Republic winning a bronze at the 2006 Turin Winter Games. He was also a member of three gold medal-winning teams at the world championships.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)