Brian Gionta retires after 16 National Hockey League seasons

Brian Gionta retires after 16 National Hockey League seasons

Brian Gionta retires after 16 National Hockey League seasons

Gionta, 39, the Greece native and Aquinas Institute product, is expected to announce his retirement from a storybook career that saw him win an NCAA title at Boston College, a Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils and represent the United States in two Winter Olympic Games.

Gionta gave no thought to playing this season and said, "I'm at peace and feel great about the decision I've made".

Little did Gionta know how far off he'd be in his initial expectations regarding his lack of size.

After 16 seasons, the 39-year-old announced his retirement from the National Hockey League on Monday at a press conference hosted by the Buffalo Sabres.

Gionta played 230 games in Buffalo and was their captain throughout.

"I still wanted to be a part of the game and wanted to be a part of the organization, " he said.

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The role as father and part-time coach isn't unfamiliar to Gionta after he got a taste of it a year ago. He is from nearby Rochester, New York, and lives in Buffalo. He'll now be taking on a player development role with the organization.

Gionta had 291 goals and 595 points in 1,026 career games.

In order to tune-up for the Olympics, Gionta signed a one-day contract with the Amerks and on February 2 before 10,000 fans at Blue Cross Arena, scored on a nifty breakaway in a 4-2 loss to Toronto. He had seven points (two goals, five assists) in 20 regular-season games with the Boston Bruins after signing as a free agent February 25.

Gionta also earned the respect of many of his former teammates in Buffalo, with a number of them attending the news conference.

Captaining the Canadiens was significant in knowing the franchise hasn't always offered the C to an American, who doesn't speak French.

"Playing with my childhood team, the Sabres, was a highlight of my career", Gionta said.

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