DENVER (AP) _ Ray Bourque retired Tuesday, ending a 22-year career that culminated earlier this month when he hoisted the Stanley Cup with tears streaming down his face.
Bourque appeared to choke back tears several times as he announced his retirement at a news conference.
``By far the most important factors are my desire to be around my children,'' said Bourque, the father of three.
``Frankly, I also have had a strong commitment to myself never to stay too long in the game,'' he said. ``Also, we are still on cloud nine having won the Stanley Cup and having achieved that goal kind of rounds off my career.''
Bourque, 40, the highest-scoring defenseman in HNL history, was a five-time winner of the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman and was a 19-time All-Star player.
He played for 21 seasons in Boston, but requested a trade to a contender in March 2000 in hopes of winning the Stanley Cup. He finally got it when the Avalanche beat the New Jersey Devils in Game 7 earlier this month.
Bourque's wife, Christiane, and their children, aged 17, 15, and 10, stayed in Boston after he was traded.
With Bourque's retirement, the Avalanche save dlrs 5.5 million, the difference between his 2001-02 salary of dlrs 6.5 million and a dlrs 1 million buyout. That would help the team pursue its marquee free agents: Joe Sakic, Rob Blake and Patrick Roy.