Former Canadiens defenceman Josh Gorges retires after 13 NHL seasons

Former Montreal Canadiens defenceman Josh Gorges has retired from the NHL after 13 seasons. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

Josh Gorges, who played for the San Jose Sharks, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres over his 13 NHL seasons, has announced his retirement.

“Even though this is a sad day I am extremely excited about the next chapter in my life and the opportunity to be back at home with my family,” the free agent defenceman wrote on Instagram. “I love the game of hockey and always will. It has given me everything I have today, taught me to be a man, taught me valuable life lessons that I would not have gotten anywhere else.”

Never drafted, Gorges first signed as a free agent with the San Jose Sharks in 2002, but didn’t make his NHL debut until Oct. 7, 2005. The Canadiens acquired Gorges in a trade in 2007 that saw defenceman Craig Rivet go to the Sharks. Gorges played eight of his 13 seasons with the Canadiens, reaching the playoffs in five of those campaigns.

The Canadiens traded Gorges to the Sabres on July 1, 2014, and he played his final four seasons in Buffalo. Injuries and some healthy scratches limited Gorges to just 34 games last season, and he ultimately didn’t sign with a team when he became a free agent in July.

Gorges retires having played 783 games, scoring 17 goals and 107 points. He also had a minus-six rating with 1,519 blocks and 1,036 hits.

“Coming to the rink knowing I got to compete with and against the best in the world is one of the greatest feelings there is,” Gorges wrote on Instagram. “So to all the teammates I got to play with, thank you for everything along the way I will miss you the most!”

According to a press release from the NHLPA, Gorges will retire to Kelowna, B.C., with his wife and two children.

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