Courtesy of Point Park University

Four-time Stanley Cup winner Kunitz retires


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Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) — MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

Chris Kunitz, who won three Stanley Cups with the Penguins — and four overall — has retired after 15 seasons in the NHL and will join the Blackhawks' front office in a player-development role.

Kunitz, 39, had 169 goals and 219 assists in 569 regular-season games with the Penguins. He added 23 goals and 53 assists in 126 playoff games with them, with his most dramatic goal being a double-overtime series-winner in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final against Ottawa in 2017.

Kunitz also played for Anaheim, Atlanta (just two games), Tampa Bay and Chicago, and finished his career with 268 goals and 351 assists in 1,022 regular-season games.

He was acquired from the Anaheim — where he began his career as an undrafted free agent and where he won his first Stanley Cup in 2007 — along with winger Eric Tangradi for defenseman Ryan Whitney on Feb. 26, 2009.

Kunitz left the Penguins as a free agent after their championship run in 2017 and signed with the Lightning. A year later, he went to the Blackhawks, also as a free agent.

"I feel very fortunate to have been a part of four amazing organizations over the past 15 years," Kunitz said in a statement released by the Blackhawks. "First and foremost, I'd like to sincerely thank the Anaheim Ducks, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks. Every one of these organizations was the ultimate example, not only to me, but to my children, on what true professionalism should be.

"Secondly, I'd like to thank the owners, coaches, trainers, management. Your love for the game, the team and the community was exemplified daily. I am very fortunate to have worked with every one of you.

"Finally, to my teammates, thank you for everything. As a young player, you taught me to give my very best. Your leadership helped mold me into the player I knew I could be. I was given the opportunity to play with the very best teams and the very best players, and I'm grateful for the laughs and the friendships that we shared together. Thank you for making my childhood dream come true."

Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton praised Kunitz in a statement released by the team.

"Chris had an outstanding professional career," Colliton said. "His four Stanley Cups and Olympic gold medal speak for themselves. While coaching him last year, I recognized what an asset he would be for our staff and the organization. I'm very pleased to have him (be) a part of our coaching group and, also, use him as a development resource for our young players in Rockford."

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