Former Rocket Richard winner Jonathan Cheechoo retires from hockey

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Patrick Lalime (40) makes a save as San Jose Sharks' Jonathan Cheechoo (14) takes a shot during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Chicago, Friday, March 7, 2008. (Brian Kersey/AP)

Former Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo has formally retired from professional hockey.

Cheechoo made the announcement on Tuesday through the San Jose Sharks.

The 37-year-old Moose Factory, Ont., native appeared in 501 games for San Jose and Ottawa, recording 170 goals and 305 points. He won the Richard Trophy in 2005-06 when he established a Sharks single-season record with 56 goals.

“I have been privileged to be able to reach my goals and to play the game that I love,” said Cheechoo in a statement. “Hockey has taken me from Moose Factory to San Jose and many places around the world.”

Cheechoo finished off his NHL career after being dealt to Ottawa in September 2009 as part of a package for disgruntled winger Dany Heatley. Cheechoo had five goals and 14 points in 61 games for the Senators in 2009-10, while also seeing time with AHL Binghamton.

The right-winger spent the next three seasons in the AHL before playing the last four in the KHL. He has not played this season.

Cheechoo will be recognized by the Sharks before their March 24 home game against the Calgary Flames.

“With the tremendous support of his immediate family and his extended Cree First Nations family, Jonathan completed a remarkable journey from one of North America’s remote locations to an elite National Hockey League player,” said Sharks GM Doug Wilson in a statement. “His hard work and persistence made him one of the most beloved players in Sharks history. Off the ice, you would be hard-pressed to find a more humble and respectful individual. We congratulate him and his family on a fantastic hockey career.”

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