Tuesday, January 24

Lemieux retirement made official.

Mario Lemieux announced his retirement today at 2pm EST at a press conference in Pittsburgh, citing two reasons. He said that he simply couldn't compete at the level he's used to. Lemieux noted that the young guys are the future of the NHL, and it's time to step aside and let them shine. He then said it's best for his family because of his health problems.

He thanked Ken Sawyer, Craig Patrick, and all of his teammates, the staff and trainers, the Penguins fans and also fans throughout the NHL and Canada. He also thanked his wife and children for supporting him through it all. He told the young guys to 'enjoy every moment of it' and that 'your career goes by very quickly'.

Lemieux then talked about learning the game and playing with Wayne Gretzky, Ray Borque, Mark Messier, and Paul Coffey. He went on to say how frustrating it was to play at a lesser level than he was used to, and to not be able to keep up, which was a huge part in why he retired.

He mentioned that he had an 'episode' last night, but his health has been fairly good lately. He's looking into surgery in the future. Lemieux again mentioned the young kids in the Pittsburgh organization, and said they will carry the future of Penguins hockey. He also stated how he will 'always be a Pittsburgher' and how great the city has been.

Lemieux stressed his retirement has nothing to do with the new arena situation and the teams struggles. He said he thought about what's best for his health and family, and started thinking about the decision after a game with Buffalo where he first experienced heart problems.


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