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Montreal Forum provided fond memories for retiring Pierre Turgeon

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

After 19 years in the NHL, the 38-year-old former Montreal Canadiens captain announced his retirement Wednesday.

Injuries were a big factor in his decision. Turgeon was limited to only 17 games last season with the Colorado Avalanche because of groin and calf injuries.

Turgeon told a news conference he and his family discussed his injuries and retirement at the end of last year.

"At one point we did decide, as far as retiring, but we wanted to take all summer really to think about it and just to make sure," he said. "And at the end of the summer it was the same answer.

"Two years ago we thought about it before moving from Dallas to Colorado, but we didn't . . . it was just time."

Turgeon also said a defining moment for him was when the Montreal Forum closed in March, 1996.

"I keep a very fond memory of the evening when, as the team captain for the Montreal Canadiens, I carried the team torch from the Forum to the Bell Centre."

Turgeon said it was an opportunity to look back on all his achievements and "to realize how lucky I was to reach my childhood dream of being a player in the NHL and especially with the Habs."

He played for the Canadiens from 1995 to 1996.

Turgeon, who was an unrestricted free agent, had 515 goals and 1,327 points in 1,294 career games.

Goal number 500 came Nov. 8, 2005 in a game between Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

But the veteran centre never got his hands on the Stanley Cup and blamed it all on timing.

He wasn't playing for the team when Colorado won the Cup in 1996 and 2001.

"That's something obviously that we're all playing for . . . you want to get the Stanley Cup if you can, but everything has got to be in the right place at the right time," Turgeon said.

He won the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct while playing for the New York Islanders in 1993.

While he may be retiring from the NHL, Turgeon will still be getting a lot of ice time.

He will be coaching his daughter Elisabeth's under-16 hockey team in the Colorado Select Girls Hockey Association.

"I love being around the kids . . .I love seeing the way they're improving every year," Turgeon said. "Hockey has been very good to me and I want to give it back to hockey."

His wife Elisabeth said Turgeon will also be travelling with his hockey daughter, who has been playing the sport since she was five.

"They will be travelling to Detroit and Chicago for league games, so it should be fun," she said in an interview.

Turgeon's wife also said the family will stay in Colorado "for at least another four or five years."

The Rouyn-Noranda born Turgeon said he thought it appropriate to announce his retirement in Quebec.

He was picked first overall by Buffalo in the 1987 draft. His older brother Sylvain was selected second overall by Hartford in 1983, so they are the highest-drafted pair of brothers in NHL history.

Turgeon, who arguably has the right stuff for the Hocky Hall of Fame, was named to the Little League Hall of Excellence this summer. He pitched for the Rouyn-Noranda team at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., in 1982.

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