Longtime Hurricanes defenseman Glen Wesley announced his retirement today after 20 years in the NHL and 13 seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Wesley's retirement marks the end of an era in more ways than one. He was the only remaining player who made the move with the Hurricanes to North Carolina from Hartford in 1997.
The 39-year-old defenseman ranks sixth all-time in games played among defensemen and 16th overall (1,457). He ranks second in franchise history in games played (913) behind Ron Francis despite undergoing career-threatening neck fusion surgery in 2000.
Last season, only two other NHL players had appeared in more games than Wesley -- Detroit Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios and New York Rangers forward Brendan Shanahan.
Only a handful of defensemen in the history of the game have demonstrated the longevity and dedication of Wesley, who came into the league with the Boston Bruins as a high-scoring power-play defenseman and remained in the NHL for 20 years as a reliable defensive stopper and dressing-room leader and mentor.
The third overall pick in the 1987 draft, Wesley broke the 40-point mark four times in his first seven seasons in the NHL leading up to a 14-goal, 58-point breakthrough in 1993-94, his final season with the Bruins.
He would never record more than 32 points after the then-Hartford Whalers acquired him for three first-round draft picks in 1994, but he became an indispensable part of the Carolina blue line.
With the Hurricanes, he made four playoff appearances, went to the Stanley Cup finals twice and won the Cup in 2006. Last season, he became the 10th defenseman to play in 1,400 games while playing in his 900th game for the Carolina francise.
Wesley considered retirement after his long wait for the Stanley Cup ended in 2006 and again last summer, but twice decided to return to the Hurricanes.
The Carolina chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association twice nominated Wesley for the Masterton Trophy, which honors sportsmanship, perseverance and dedication to the game of hockey, in 2001 and 2008.
Active in his church and in the community, Wesley and his family -- he has a daughter and two sons -- plan to continue to make their home in the Triangle.