Hockey Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux retires

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Hockey Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux, citing health reasons, Tuesday announced his retirement from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Lemieux, who retired once before, scored 690 goals and had 1,033 assists over 915 games in 17 seasons all with the Penguins. The 40-year-old appeared in 26 games this season; the last on Dec. 16.


"The time is right because I can no longer play the game at the level I'm accustomed to," Lemieux said in a release. "I think the best decision is to retire as a player and turn the game over to the younger guys who are the future of this team and this league. It's a young man's game now."

Lemieux helped Pittsburgh to two Stanley Cup championships, won the Art Ross Trophy, as the NHL's leading scorer, six times and was the league most valuable player three times.

Lemieux retired after the 1996-97 season, and the Hockey Hall of Fame waived to usual waiting period and inducted him in 1997. He joined a group of investors that bought the Penguins in 1999 and on Dec. 27, 2000, returned as the first player-owner in the NHL in the modern era.


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