Three-time Stanley Cup champion Justin Williams is calling it a career.
The long time NHL forward who spent time with the Carolina Hurricanes, Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals announced his retirement Thursday.
Williams released the following statement:
“Since I first broke into the league a day after my 19th birthday back in 2000, this game has brought me so much that I will never be able to repay it” Williams said. “The countless experiences, relationships, lessons and hardships will remain with me forever as I move on to the next stage of my life. I’ve never once taken for granted the privilege it is to be able to play a game for a living, and that is probably why I was able to play it professionally for as long as I have.
“I want to thank every single one of my teammates for challenging me every day to be better. My friend and agent Thane Campbell for having my back all these years. Bobby Clarke and the Philadelphia Flyers organisation for seeing the potential in a scrawny kid from Cobourg, Ont., and selecting me in the draft. My first coach Craig Ramsay for giving me an opportunity right away to realise my dream of playing in the NHL. Jim Rutherford and the Carolina Hurricanes for seeing that same potential and allowing me to grow as a player. Phil Anschutz, Dean Lombardi, Michael Futa and the Los Angeles Kings organisation whom I will forever be grateful to for helping me resurrect a career that was sliding away, and giving me a renewed confidence in myself at a time when I needed it most. The Washington Capitals organisation for the chance to keep playing for championships. Peter Karmanos and Ron Francis for agreeing to bring me back to the place I now call home and finish my career for the Hurricanes. Tom Dundon and Rod Brind’Amour for their leadership and trust in me as a player to bring me back this past year for one last run.
“My family has sacrificed a lot for me to be where I am, so I want to thank my mom and dad for being there for me every step of the way. My sister, Nikki, for being my biggest fan since day one. My wife, Kelly, and my kids Jaxon and Jade for embracing this journey with me. Life is so much better when you have people you love to share it with.
“Thank you everyone as I retire from pro hockey.”
Williams was selected in the first round of the 2000 NHL Draft by the Flyers. He ended up playing 1,264 regular season games, amassing 320 goals and 477 assists. He became famous for his ability to elevate his game in the post-season – particularly in winner-take-all games thus earning the nickname “Mr. Game 7.” Williams added 41 goals and 102 points in 162 career playoff games.
The 39-year-old won his first championship with the Hurricanes in 2006. His second Cup came with the Kings in 2012 then he won another with the Kings in 2014. Williams earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP during that final Cup run after putting up 25 points in 26 games.
Williams had spent the past three seasons with the Hurricanes, scoring eight goals in 20 games in 2019-20.