Devils' Patrik Elias announces retirement

The Devils will celebrate "Patrik Elias Week" over the team's final three home games and retire his No. 26 next season.

Patrik Elias is hanging up his skates for good.

The Devils' veteran forwardannounced his retirement Friday after spending his entirecareer in New Jersey.

"After 18 seasons, I am pleased to announce that I will be retiring from the National Hockey League, having played my last game with the New Jersey Devils," Elias said in a statement."For the past few months, I have weighed this decision both physically and mentally. I am happy to say this provides me and my family with closure.

"I am looking forward to this week, my last lap and next year's celebration."

Elias, a two-time Stanley Cup champion and New Jersey'sall-time leading scorer,has remained an unrestricted free agent this season afterundergoing knee surgery this past offseason. Hewill skate with the team one last timeduring warmups in the Devils'final home game on April 8.

The Devilswill celebrate "Patrik Elias Week" over the team's final three home games and retire his No. 26next season. He will be just the fifthplayer in franchisehistory to have their number retired to the rafters, joiningScott Stevens, Ken Daneyko, Scott Niedermayer and Martin Brodeur.

Elias, who turns 41 next month,retires with 408 goals and 617 assists for 1,025 points in 1,240 games.

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