NEW YORK, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Mark Messier, who helped his teams win six Stanley Cups, has decided to retire from ice hockey, reports NHL.com.
Messier, who played in Edmonton, New York and Vancouver, announced his retirement Monday in a conference call, the report said.
"It's right for me and my family," he said. "I feel good about it. I was able to play 26 years or whatever it is now and walk away healthy. It's a tough situation because we all know how much fun it is to play."
The New York Rangers, with whom Messier won the 1994 Stanley Cup, immediately announced Messier's No. 11 will be retired prior to the Jan. 12 game against the Edmonton Oilers, the team Messier won five cups with, the report said.
Messier, who is 44, could have played another season or two, surpassing Gordie Howe as NHL's all-time leader in games played. But he said that as much as good health was a reason to play, it also provided a strong sentiment to walk away as well.
Howe played in 1,767 career regular-season games. Messier has played 1,756.