Courtesy of Point Park University

Former Penguins defenseman Lovejoy retires after 11 NHL seasons


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Ben Lovejoy. -- AP PHOTO

Ben Lovejoy, a defenseman on the Penguins' Stanley Cup-winning team in 2016, has retired from the NHL after 11 seasons.

Lovejoy, who signed with the Penguins as an undrafted free agent in 2008, had 20 goals and 81 assists in 544 NHL games, which included two stints with the Penguins and stops in Anaheim, New Jersey and Dallas.

He announced his retirement while appearing on the NHL Network as a guest analyst.

"I'm very done," he said. "I'm very proud of my career, very honored to have played for so long. It couldn't have gone any better. It was a childhood dream come true.

"But it was hard ... I wasn't good enough to just lace up the skates and go play. I had to make it a lifestyle, and I feel like a million-pound weight is off my shoulders right now. I'm really, really excited to be done."

Lovejoy also announced his retirement on social media, with a reference to The Office:

Lovejoy did some of his finest work with the Penguins during their championship run three years ago, as he put up two goals and four assists in 24 games during the 2016 postseason.

"I liked Ben, and I liked what he did when he played for us," Jim Rutherford said. "He helped us win that first Cup (during Rutherford's tenure as GM.) He was just a solid, consistent defenseman that you could rely on."

He signed with the Devils as a free agent in the summer of 2016.

Lovejoy, who spent most of his first three pro seasons with the Penguins' farm team in Wilkes-Barre, finished his Penguins career with nine goals and 29 assists in 184 games. His time with the franchise was interrupted in 2013, when he was traded to the Ducks for a fifth-round draft choice.

Just over two years later, the Penguins got him back by sending Simon Despres to Anaheim.

Lovejoy, 35, capped his NHL career in 2018-19 by recording two goals and seven assists in 71 regular-season games with New Jersey and Dallas, then picked up an assist in 13 playoff games with the Stars.

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