GLENDALE, Ariz. Brett Hull, the third-leading scorer in NHL history, announced his retirement Saturday, effective immediately.

“I had so much fun coming to the rink day after day,” he said at a news conference, his voice choking with emotion.

“I wish no one had to do this because it’s so hard, it’s hard because you never think you’re going to grow older and be unable to live up to the expectations you set for yourself. I just thank everyone who ever touched my life in the game.”

The 41-year-old Hull, who had one assist in five games for the Phoenix Coyotes in his 20th NHL season, had to stop to gain control of his emotions, making the announcement with his four children, fiance and several former teammates on hand.

The announcement came two hours before the Coyotes faced his former team, the Detroit Red Wings.

Hull signed with the Coyotes on Aug. 6, 2004, because he wanted to play for his longtime friend, Wayne Gretzky, who is in his first season as Phoenix’s coach. Only Gretzky and Gordie Howe have more goals than Hull in NHL history.

Before the Coyotes’ home opener a week ago, Hull’s father, Hall of Famer Bobby Hull, had his number “un-retired” so his son Brett could wear it this season.

Hull had 741 goals and 650 assists in the former Minnesota-Duluth star’s long NHL career with Calgary, St. Louis, Dallas, Detroit and Phoenix.

He won Stanley Cup titles in 1999 with Dallas and 2002 with Detroit. In 1999, he scored a controversial goal in the third overtime to give the Stars a 2-1 victory over Buffalo in the series-ending sixth game.

Hull played in nine All-Star games. He was the league MVP in 1991 and MVP of the playoffs in 1992.

AP-ES-10-15-05 2107EDT


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.