Former Maple Leafs defenceman Hal Gill retires

Toronto Maple Leafs' defenceman Hal Gill (right) congratulates goaltender Vesa Toskala, from Finland, after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 in 2008. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

Veteran defenceman Hal Gill has announced his retirement from the NHL after 16 seasons and a Stanley Cup title.

The well-travelled Gill played a total of 1,108 career NHL games with Boston, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Nashville and Philadelphia.

He scored 36 goals and 148 assists and added 962 penalty minutes over his career, but was known more for his considerable size. At six foot seven and 243 pounds, Gill was an imposing presence on the blue-line and a key part of the Penguins’ 2009 championship team.

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"I am so thankful to have played for such great organizations. I was lucky to have made amazing friendships throughout my career and live in so many beautiful cities," Gill said in a statement released Thursday by the NHL Players’ Association. "I would like to thank the fans for their support, the coaches for their direction, the team staffs for their efforts, and most of all, my teammates for their camaraderie (and keeping me in line)."

Gill was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the eighth round (207th overall) of the 1993 draft and made his NHL debut with the Bruins on Oct. 17, 1997.

After a sting in Toronto, he was traded to Pittsburgh and helped the Penguins make the Stanley Cup final in 2008 and win it all in 2009.

Gill signed as a free agent with Montreal before the 2009-10 season and helped the Canadiens make the 2010 Eastern Conference final.

He played six regular-season games and one playoff game with Philadelphia last season.

he played his final NHL season with the Philadelphia Flyers after signing in October of 2013, and he played in his last career game during the 2014 playoffs.

Internationally, Gill represented the United States at the world championship on five occasions (2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006).

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