Prague (AFP) - Injury-plagued Czech forward Patrik Elias said Friday he was retiring from NHL hockey after more than two decades spent with the New Jersey Devils.
"I'm immensely proud of the fact that I have spent my entire career in a single club," the 40-year-old left wing told the isport.cz news site.
Grappling with a knee injury, Elias played his last NHL game in April.
"You have to be honest with yourself and decide whether you can go on doing the job you love," he added.
"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," Elias said in a statement published on the Devils' website.
Drafted in 1994, Elias had 408 goals and 617 assists in 1,250 regular-season games and 45 goals and 80 assists in 162 play-off games for the Devils with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 2000 and 2003.
He leads the Devils' all-time statistics in goals, assists and points, both in the regular season and in the play-offs, alongside a host of other rankings.
With the Czech Republic team, Elias won the bronze at the Turin Olympics in 2006 and at the 1998 and 2011 world championships, scoring 20 goals in 43 international games.
The Devils have announced they will raise Elias's number 26 to the rafters next season.