QUÉBEC, Sept. 15, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - It is with great emotion, and also pride at having lived his dream to the fullest that Simon Gagné, 35, announced his retirement from the National Hockey League (NHL). The left winger leaves with an impressive record of 291 goals and 310 assists for 601 points in 822 regular season games, and 37 goals and 22 assists for 59 points in 109 playoff games.
"Today, I want to thank my trainers and teammates. You inspired me to surpass myself. You made me understand that you need more than talent; it takes sacrifice and discipline and you need to work harder than your rivals. I also wish to thank my fans. Every evening, you energized me and inspired me to perform", added Gagné.
A hockey fanatic since he was two years old, Gagné was selected by the Philadelpia Flyers in the first round of the 1998 entry draft, 22nd overall, and immediately imposed himself as an offensive force. In the next twelve years with the Flyers, he stood out in many exciting playoff series, including the 2010 Stanley Cup finals. He represented Canada in the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, earning a gold medal alongside Sakic, Lemieux and many other idols of his youth. He also won a World Cup with Team Canada in 2004 and participated in the Turin Games in 2006. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010, then in 2011, signed a two-year contract with the LA Kings with whom he won a Stanley Cup in 2012. After a one-season break, he was invited to the Boston Bruins training camp in August 2014 and earned a one-year contract. He left the team after 23 games to tend to his father who was stricken with cancer.
"Last year, I lost my father: my number 1 fan, my coach, my confidant, my best friend, and my top teammate. The hard knocks of life often teach us to stop, think and look back at the road traveled, so that we can make the right decisions going forward. Today, I am hanging up my skates, calmly and with peace of mind, knowing that it is the right time and the right decision," added Gagné.
The father of three young children, Simon Gagné is actively involved with Leucan and runs a tournament bearing his name. The tournament raised nearly one million dollars for sick children over 12 years. He also headlines the Pro-Am Gagné-Bergeron, an exhibition game played by NHL players and amateurs. Funds raised go to Leucan for research and to support children stricken with cancer, and the Pignon Bleu to provide help to disadvantaged children in the Quebec City region.
Gagné is looking forward to this new stage in his life. He hopes to put his experience to good use in preparing the next generation of hockey players. "Quebec City, where it all began, will always be my home. Today, I look at the new arena with the same passion I had as a kid. It's with pride and a touch of envy that I look at today`s youngsters who will one day undoubtedly wear the Nordiques' colours and defend our city`s honour," concluded Gagné.
SOURCE Simon Gagné
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