Flames goalie Vernon retires

Sept. 13, 2002 at 2:21 PM
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CALGARY, Alberta, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Mike Vernon of the Calgary Flames, who is fourth all time in NHL postseason games played among goaltenders, Friday announced his retirement after 19 seasons.

Vernon was 385-273-92 with a 2.98 goals-against average in 781 career games. He won the Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1988-89 and with the Detroit Red Wings in 1996-97.

In the 1997 playoffs, Vernon was 16-4 with a stellar 1.76 GAA, earning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Red Wings captured their first Stanley Cup in 42 years.

"I have a lot of great memories that I can look back on," Vernon said. "Winning the Stanley Cup with Calgary and then again with Detroit were obviously career highlights."

Vernon, 39, is seventh on the all-time regular-season wins list and fourth on the all-time playoff list with 77 victories in 138 games. Only Patrick Roy, Grant Fuhr and Ed Belfour have played in more postseason games among goaltenders.

He was a five-time All-Star and is Calgary's all-time leader with 262 wins and 526 games.

"I'm very fortunate to have fulfilled a childhood dream to play in the NHL," Vernon said. "It was fun every day to get up and go down to the rink and be around the guys. I would like to thank everyone who supported me from my minor hockey days playing at the South Calgary Community Center through my career in the NHL."

Vernon was selected by Calgary with the 56th pick in the 1981 draft and made his NHL debut in the 1982-83 season.

He had a career-high 39 wins in 1987-88, and the following season led the Flames to their only Stanley Cup as he posted a 16-5 record in the 1989 playoffs. Calgary has not won a playoff

series since.

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