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Veteran NHL defenceman Aaron Ward retires after 13 NHL seasons

TORONTO - Three-time Stanley Cup winner Aaron Ward is retiring after more than 13 NHL seasons.

The 37-year-old veteran defenceman, who became a free agent this summer, underwent a third surgery on his knee in the off-season and wasn't going to be ready for the upcoming season, the NHL Players' Association said in a release Tuesday.

"I’m very proud to have played for as long as I did in the NHL, with and against the best players in the game," Ward said in the release. "This game has left me with countless memories and relationships, especially from those Stanley Cup winning teams in Carolina and Detroit. Thank you to my family, fans, friends and teammates for all of the great years."

The Windsor, Ont., native played in 839 career NHL games with Detroit, Carolina, Boston, Anaheim and the New York Rangers, winning Stanley Cups with the Red Wings ('97, '98) and Hurricanes ('06). He finishes his career with 44 goals and 107 assists with 736 penalty minutes.

Ward split last season with Carolina and Anaheim, recording one goal and 12 assists in 77 games.

A steady, consistent defenceman, Ward was selected fifth overall in by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1991 NHL draft. He made his NHL debut with the Red Wings in 1993.

Ward will live in North Carolina with his wife, Kelly, and their three children. He plans to continue his television work as a hockey analyst in the upcoming season.

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