February 14, 1976 |
Ústí nad Labem, Czechoslovakia
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
|Weight||190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)|
|Played for||HC Pardubice
|National team||Czech Republic|
|NHL Draft||87th overall, 1994
Milan Hejduk (Czech pronunciation: [ˈmɪlan ˈɦɛjduk] ( ); born February 14, 1976) is a retired Czech professional ice hockey forward. He spent all 14 years of his National Hockey League career with the Colorado Avalanche, and retired holding the record for most career games as an Avalanche player (1020).
The 6-foot tall, 190-pound Hejduk was drafted 87th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 4th 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 4 seasons before transferring to the NHL after the 1997–98 season.
He 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 beating 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 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche.
During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Hejduk returned to HC Pardubice, racking up 25 goals in 48 Czech Extraliga games. Hejduk with Pardubice won Extraliga.
In the 2008–09 season, Hejduk scored his 300th goal alongside Ryan Smyth on January 18, 2009 against the Calgary Flames in a 6–2 victory at the Pepsi Center. He dressed for all 82 games that year for the Avalanche and ended 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 campaign, Hejduk was signed to an additional one-year contract extension ending in 2011 on September 24, 2009. Alongside long-time teammate and 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 the 2010 Winter Olympics with the Czech Republic to recoup. After over a month on the sidelines, Hejduk scored two goals against the St. Louis Blues to mark his return on March 7. In helping Colorado return to the playoffs, he completed the year to place third on the team with 23 goals despite playing in a career low 56 games. Hejduk scored just 1 goal in the 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.
On May 11, 2011, Hejduk extended his stay with the Avalanche signing a one-year contract for the 2011–12 season. On November 14, Milan Hejduk was named the third captain in Colorado Avalanche history after a brief vacancy left by Adam Foote's retirement. Milan saw a decline in his offensive production for his first season as team 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 postseason for the second time in two years, Hejduk has stated he considers retirement. Despite these statements, he re-signed with the Avalanche to a one-year, $2M contract on May 18, 2012. In September 2012, Milan relinquished his captaincy due to his role in the organization changing. Milan has admitted however to being happy to have given up his captaincy to who he thinks is going to be a franchise player for a long time.
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 1000th career NHL game. Hejduk 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. 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 Jaromir Jagr and Patrik Elias. Despite the shortened season, Hejduk saw his scoring role reduced by 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.
Despite harbouring ambition to play on, Hejduk was not offered a new contract by the Avalanche upon free agency. He finished his tenure ranked second in Quebec/Colorado franchise history in games played (1020), fourth in goals (375) and points (805) and fifth in assists (430), whilst also the all-time franchise leader in overtime goals (9) and second in game-winning goals (59).
Reports surfaced on November 13, 2013, that Hejduk was ending his hockey career, reports that were confirmed after the 2014 Olympic break. 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.
NHL All-Star Games
Hejduk has been selected to play in three National Hockey League All-Star Games. In 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. In 2001, he was chosen to replace an injured Jaromír Jágr in the starting line-up, one of the six Avs selected as starters. He did not, however, pick up 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 57th All-Star Game. He posted a goal and two assists in an 12–11 shootout loss to the Eastern Conference.
Regular season and playoffs
|Competitor for Czech Republic|
Awards and honours
|National Hockey League|
|All-Star Game||1999–2000, 2000–01, 2008–09|||
|Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy||2002–03|
|Bud Light Plus/Minus Award||2002–03|
|Second All-Star Team||2002–03|
- "Smyth, Hejduk score perfect game: hit 300". Denver Post. 2009-01-18. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
- "Avs sign Hejduk to extension". KXLH. 2009-09-24. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- "Hejduk to have knee surgery Thursday". ESPN. 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- "Stewart gets first Hat-Trick in Colorado win". Yahoo! Sports. 2010-03-07. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- "Hejduk a Game 6 scratch for Avalanche". CBC.ca. 2010-04-23. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- "Avalanche sign veteran Hejduk to one-year deal". The Sports Network. 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
- "Veteran Winger To Become Third Captain In Avalanche History". NHL. 2011-11-14. Retrieved 2011-11-14.
- "Colorado Avalanche captain Milan Hejduk says he's considering retirement". The Denver Post. 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
- Chambers, Michael. "Gabriel Landeskog succeeds Milan Hejduk as Colorado Avalanche captain". The Denver Post. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- "Avs fall to stars; Milan Hejduk scores in his 1000th game". Denver Post. 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
- "Hejduk lifts Avalanche over Wild on 37th birthday". Chicago Tribune. 2013-02-14. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
- "Milan Hejduk could play with another NHL team besides Colorado". Denver Post. 2013-07-08. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
- "Czech Republic newspaper says Milan Hejduk has retired". Denver Post. 2013-11-13. Retrieved 2013-11-13.
- "Datsyuk and Lidstrom suspended for not playing in NHL All-Star Game". Rocky Mountain News. 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- "Colorado Avalanche Media Guide". Colorado Avalanche. 2008-09-26. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
- "Avalanche 3, Wild 1". Colorado Avalanche. 2004-01-04. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
- Milan Hejduk's career statistics at EliteProspects.com
- Milan Hejduk's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
- Milan Hejduk's player profile at NHL.com
- Milan Hejduk's Player profile at NHLPA.com