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Milan Hejduk (Czech pronunciation: [ˈmɪlan ˈɦɛjduk] (About this soundlisten); born February 14, 1976) is a Czech-American former professional ice hockey forward. Nicknamed "The Duke", he spent his entire 14-year National Hockey League (NHL) career with the Colorado Avalanche and retired holding the record for most career games as an Avalanche player with 1,020. In 2003, he won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the NHL's leading goal scorer.

Milan Hejduk
Milan Hejduk 2008.jpg
Born (1976-02-14) February 14, 1976 (age 43)
Ústí nad Labem, Czechoslovakia
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
Position Right wing
Shot Right
Played for HC Pardubice
Colorado Avalanche
National team  Czech Republic
NHL Draft 87th overall, 1994
Quebec Nordiques
Playing career 1993–2013

Playing careerEdit

The 6-foot-tall, 190-pound Hejduk was drafted 87th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the fourth round of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, after a year with HC Pardubice in the Czech Extraliga, after winning Czech Rookie of the Year with 11 goals in 32 games. He stayed with Pardubice until 1998, scoring 14, 13, 27 and 26 goals in his next four seasons respectively before transferring to the NHL after the 1997–98 season.

Hejduk won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the NHL's top goalscorer when he scored 50 goals for the Avalanche in the 2002–03 season, narrowly surpassing Markus Näslund of the Vancouver Canucks, who had been leading for most of the season. Hejduk scored a goal against the Calgary Flames in a 3–0 win for the Avalanche on March 12, 2006, tying him with Peter Forsberg in sixth place on the all-time Avalanche franchise goalscoring list with 216 goals. He won the Stanley Cup in the 2000–01 season with the Avalanche.

During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Hejduk returned to HC Pardubice, scoring 25 goals in 48 Czech Extraliga games. He won the Extraliga title with Pardubice.

In the 2008–09 season, Hejduk scored his 300th career NHL goal alongside Ryan Smyth on January 18, 2009, against the Calgary Flames in a 6–2 victory at the Pepsi Center.[1] He dressed for all 82 games that year for the Avalanche and ended what was, at that point, their most unsuccessful season in history tied with Smyth as the Avs' top scorer with 59 points. Milan also led the Avalanche for the fifth time in his career with 27 goals.

Prior to the 2009–10 season, on September 24, 2009, Hejduk signed a new one-year contract with Colorado effective for the 2010–11 season.[2] Alongside long-time teammate and team captain Adam Foote, Hejduk provided veteran leadership to a re-invigorated, youth-laden Avalanche side to start the year. After initially persisting with a knee and back injuries through the first half of the season, on January 19, 2010, Milan opted to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery and forgo participating in the 2010 Winter Olympics with the Czech Republic to recoup.[3] After over one month on the sidelines, Hejduk scored two goals against the St. Louis Blues to mark his return on March 7.[4] In helping Colorado return to the Stanley Cup playoffs, he completed the year to place third on the team with 23 goals despite playing in a career-low 56 games. He scored just one goal in the 2010 playoffs before he succumbed to a head injury after a collision with line-mate Paul Stastny in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals series defeat against the San Jose Sharks.[5]

 
Hejduk with the Avalanche in 2008

On May 11, 2011, Hejduk signed another one-year contract with the Avalanche effective for the 2011–12 season.[6] On November 14, he was named the third captain in Avalanche history after a brief vacancy was left by Adam Foote's retirement.[7] Hejduk saw a decline in his offensive production for his first season as captain. Scoring 14 goals and 37 points in 81 games, this ended his impressive career streak of 12-straight 20-plus-goal seasons. Shortly after the 2011–12 season, after the Avs would miss the playoffs for the second time in two years, Hejduk expressed his consideration to retire from the NHL.[8] Despite these statements, on May 18, 2012, he signed a one-year contract with the Avalanche for the 2012–13 season worth $2 million. In September 2012, he relinquished his captaincy due to his role in the organization changing. He admitted to being happy to have given up his captaincy to a player who he thinks is going to be a franchise player for a long time.[9]

In the lockout-shortened 2012–13 season, Hejduk became the last player drafted by the Quebec Nordiques still active in the NHL, after goaltender Tim Thomas opted for a year on hiatus. On February 4, 2013, in a 3–2 defeat to the Dallas Stars, Hejduk scored a goal in his 1,000th career NHL game. He became the first Avalanche player in history to appear in 1,000 games for the club and the 30th in NHL history to do so at a single franchise.[10] On his 37th birthday, Hejduk scored a goal and a shoot-out goal in a 4–3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on February 14, 2013. The goal marked his 800th point in the NHL, becoming just the third Czech-born player in NHL history to reach the feat, behind only Jaromír Jágr and Patrik Eliáš.[11] Despite the shortened season, Hejduk saw his scoring role reduced by head coach Joe Sacco. With injury and bouts of healthy scratches, he contributed from the checking lines with a career-low 4 goals and 11 points in only 29 games played.

Despite harbouring ambition to continue playing, Hejduk was not offered a new contract by the Avalanche upon the expiry of his contract. He finished his tenure ranked second in Quebec/Colorado franchise history in games played (1,020), fourth in goals (375) and points (805) and fifth in assists (430), while also the all-time franchise leader in overtime goals (9) and second in game-winning goals (59).[12]

Reports surfaced on November 13, 2013, that Hejduk was ending his hockey career, which were confirmed after the 2014 Olympic break.[13][14] At the time of his retirement, he was the last player to leave the Avalanche that had played on their 2001 Stanley Cup-winning team.

On September 13, 2017, it was announced that the Avalanche would retire Hejduk's number 23 jersey during the 2017–18 season,[15] and it was officially retired on January 6, 2018.[16]

NHL All-Star GamesEdit

Hejduk has been selected to play in three NHL All-Star Games. In the 2000 All-Star Game, he played on the World team in a 9–4 win over North America. He earned a primary assist on Pavol Demitra's third period goal. For the 2001 All-Star Game, he was chosen to replace an injured Jaromír Jágr in the starting line-up, one of the six Avalanche players selected as starters. However, he did not record a point in a 14–12 loss to North America. In 2009, he was selected as the only Av in the All-Star lineup for the year's Game.[17] He recorded one goal and two assists in a 12–11 shootout loss to the Eastern Conference.

Personal lifeEdit

Hejduk is married to Zlatuse and has twin sons named Marek and David, born January 3, 2004.[18][19] In 2016, Hejduk became an American citizen.[20]

Career statisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1993–94 HC Pardubice ELH 20 7 2 9 4 10 3 1 4 0
1994–95 HC Pardubice ELH 43 10 13 23 6
1995–96 HC Pojišťovna IB Pardubice ELH 37 13 7 20 4
1996–97 HC Pojišťovna IB Pardubice ELH 51 27 11 38 10 10 6 0 6 27
1997–98 HC IPB Pojišťovna Pardubice ELH 49 26 17 43 20 3 0 0 0 2
1998–99 Colorado Avalanche NHL 82 14 34 48 26 16 6 6 12 4
1999–2000 Colorado Avalanche NHL 82 36 36 72 16 17 5 4 9 6
2000–01 Colorado Avalanche NHL 80 41 38 79 36 23 7 16 23 6
2001–02 Colorado Avalanche NHL 62 21 23 44 24 16 3 3 6 4
2002–03 Colorado Avalanche NHL 82 50 48 98 32 7 2 2 4 2
2003–04 Colorado Avalanche NHL 82 35 40 75 20 11 5 2 7 0
2004–05 HC Moeller Pardubice ELH 48 25 26 51 14 16 6 2 8 6
2005–06 Colorado Avalanche NHL 74 24 34 58 24 9 2 6 8 2
2006–07 Colorado Avalanche NHL 80 35 35 70 44
2007–08 Colorado Avalanche NHL 77 29 25 54 36 10 3 3 6 4
2008–09 Colorado Avalanche NHL 82 27 32 59 16
2009–10 Colorado Avalanche NHL 56 23 21 44 10 3 1 0 1 0
2010–11 Colorado Avalanche NHL 71 22 34 56 18
2011–12 Colorado Avalanche NHL 81 14 23 37 14
2012–13 Colorado Avalanche NHL 29 4 7 11 0
ELH totals 248 108 76 184 58 39 15 3 18 35
NHL totals 1020 375 430 805 316 112 34 42 76 28

InternationalEdit

Medal record
Representing   Czech Republic
Ice hockey
Winter Olympics
  1998 Nagano
  2006 Torino
World Championships
  1998 Basel
Year Team Event Result   GP G A Pts PIM
1995 Czech Republic WJC 6th 7 1 3 4 14
1996 Czech Republic WJC 4th 6 0 0 0 0
1998 Czech Republic OG   4 0 0 0 2
1998 Czech Republic WC   1 0 0 0 0
2002 Czech Republic OG 7th 4 1 0 1 0
2003 Czech Republic WC 4th 7 5 1 6 2
2004 Czech Republic WCH   4 3 2 5 2
2006 Czech Republic OG   8 2 1 3 2
Junior totals 13 1 3 4 14
Senior totals 28 11 4 15 8

Awards and honoursEdit

Award Year
NHL
All-Rookie Team 1998–99
All-Star Game 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2008–09 [17]
Stanley Cup 2000–01
Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy 2002–03
Bud Light Plus/Minus Award 2002–03
Second All-Star Team 2002–03

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Smyth, Hejduk score perfect game: hit 300". The Denver Post. January 18, 2009. Retrieved April 2, 2009.
  2. ^ "Avs sign Hejduk to extension". KXLH. September 24, 2009. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
  3. ^ "Hejduk to have knee surgery Thursday". ESPN. January 19, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
  4. ^ "Stewart gets first Hat-Trick in Colorado win". Yahoo! Sports. March 7, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
  5. ^ "Hejduk a Game 6 scratch for Avalanche". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. April 23, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
  6. ^ "Avalanche sign veteran Hejduk to one-year deal". The Sports Network. May 11, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  7. ^ "Veteran Winger To Become Third Captain in Avalanche History". National Hockey League. November 14, 2011. Archived from the original on November 16, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
  8. ^ "Colorado Avalanche captain Milan Hejduk says he's considering retirement". The Denver Post. March 30, 2012. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  9. ^ Chambers, Michael. "Gabriel Landeskog succeeds Milan Hejduk as Colorado Avalanche captain". The Denver Post. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  10. ^ "Avs fall to stars; Milan Hejduk scores in his 1000th game". The Denver Post. February 4, 2013. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
  11. ^ "Hejduk lifts Avalanche over Wild on 37th birthday". Chicago Tribune. February 14, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2013.
  12. ^ "Milan Hejduk could play with another NHL team besides Colorado". The Denver Post. July 8, 2013. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  13. ^ "Czech Republic newspaper says Milan Hejduk has retired". The Denver Post. November 13, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  14. ^ http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1655804-colorado-avalanche-salutes-the-duke-milan-hejduk-retires
  15. ^ "Avalanche To Retire Hejduk's Jersey Number". National Hockey League. September 13, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  16. ^ Chambers, Mike (January 6, 2018). "Colorado Avalanche raised Milan Hejduk's No. 23 to the rafters". The Denver Post. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "Datsyuk and Lidstrom suspended for not playing in NHL All-Star Game". Rocky Mountain News. January 23, 2009. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
  18. ^ "Colorado Avalanche Media Guide" (PDF). Colorado Avalanche. September 26, 2008. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  19. ^ "Avalanche 3, Wild 1". Colorado Avalanche. January 4, 2004. Archived from the original on May 26, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  20. ^ Schildmeyer, April (March 29, 2016). "Former Colorado Avalanche player Milan Hejduk becomes a U.S. citizen". 7NEWS. Retrieved February 21, 2018.

External linksEdit