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] ( listen); born February 14, 1976) is a retired Czech American professional ice hockey forward. He spent all 14 years of his National Hockey League (NHL) career with the Colorado Avalanche, and retired holding the record for most career games as an Avalanche player (1,020). On September 13, 2017, it was announced that the Avalanche would be retiring Hejduk's number 23 during the 2017–18 season.
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 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 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 the 2000–01 season with the Avalanche.
During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Hejduk returned to HC Pardubice, racking up 25 goals in 48 Czech Extraliga games. Hejduk won the Extraliga title with Pardubice.
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 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 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 one 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 Quarter-finals 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, Hejduk was named the third captain in Colorado Avalanche history after a brief vacancy left by Adam Foote's retirement. Hejduk 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 post-season for the second time in two years, Hejduk stated his consideration to retire from the NHL. Despite these statements, he re-signed with the Avalanche to a one-year, $2 million contract on May 18, 2012. In September 2012, Hejduk relinquished his captaincy due to his role in the organization changing. He 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 1,000th 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 only Jaromír Jágr and Patrik Eliáš. 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 four goals and 11 points in only 29 games played.
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 (1,020), 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, which 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 Avalanche players 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 a 12–11 shootout loss to the Eastern Conference.
Regular season and playoffs
|Representing 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" (PDF). Colorado Avalanche. 2008-09-26. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
- "Avalanche 3, Wild 1". Colorado Avalanche. 2004-01-04. Retrieved 2011-04-29.