It was just announced this afternoon, Dallas Stars great and fan favorite Jere Lehtinen is officially retiring from hockey. The 37 year-old Lehtinen has been weighing his options and if to retire or not since the summer. Stars management and GM Joe Nieuwendyk left the door open if Jere wanted to come back to play another year for the team, but after the forced departure of Modano and Turco combined with the long time it was taking Lehtinen to decide had many thinking that Jere was going to call it quits.
Jere played 14 seasons in the NHL after the Stars drafted him in the 4th round (88th overall) in the 1992 draft. Lehtinen has gone on to be one of the longtime faces of this franchise and permanent leaders for the team during the glory years. Over the last few seasons, he has struggled with injuries and staying healthy. Today he finally decides to step down and will be dearly missed by Stars fans even though he has not played this season. Jere was of course one of the key players when the Stars won the cup in 99 and went back to the Stanley Cup finals in 2000. For anyone who may have forgotten, Lehtinen assisted (along with Modano) on Brett Hull’s game winning goal to win the championship in game 6 in the 3rd overtime.
Here are some of the great stats for Jere Lehtinen over the years:
3 time Selke Trophy winner (Best defensive forward): 1998, 1999, & 2003.
Played 875 games for the Dallas Stars: 3rd most in franchise history
Scored 243 goals (7th for Franchise) and 271 assists (10th) for a total of 514 points (good for 8th best in the franchise).
Lead the team in goals three times: 02-03, 05-06, & 06-07.
Here is the press release from the Dallas Stars and Jere’s comments this afternoon: Story