MANNHEIM, Germany – After 22 seasons as a professional ice hockey player, 39-year-old German forward Jochen Hecht announced his retirement.
With 833 NHL games (186 goals, 277 assists) and 59 post-season games (14 goals, 18 assists) in the National Hockey League Hecht was one of the most successful player from his country in the international game.
“After a long and difficult thinking process I decided to end my career. It wasn’t an easy decision after so many years. I experiences highs and lows but the love for the game always remained. I look back at my career with pride and would do everything the same way again,” Hecht said at a press conference.
Hecht had his professional debut as a 17-year-old with his hometown team Adler Mannheim and notched 32 points in the top German league as a rookie. During that time he played in four consecutive World Junior Championships with Germany and was drafted in the second round by the St. Louis Blues after his DEL rookie season.
In 1998 Hecht moved to the NHL where he played 14 seasons, ten of them with the Buffalo Sabres after earlier stints with the St. Louis Blues and Edmonton Oilers.
In Europe Hecht never played for another team than his hometown team from Mannheim, for which he also played during the 2004/2005 and 2012/2013 lockouts and during the last three seasons. He won three German championships with the “Eagles”, in 1997, 1998 and in 2015 when he was named Playoff MVP. His number 55 will be retired.
Internationally he represented Germany in three Olympic Winter Games (1998, 2002, 2010), in six World Championships and two World Cups (1996, 2004).