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Kunitz retires from NHL after 15 seasons

Former Ferris St. Bulldog won 4 Stanley Cups

Chicago Blackhawks left wing Chris Kunitz skates during a Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019 game against the Anaheim Ducks in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

CHICAGO (AP) — Chris Kunitz announced his retirement Tuesday after winning four Stanley Cup titles in 15 NHL seasons.

He wasn’t out of work for very long.

Kunitz is joining the Chicago Blackhawks’ front office as a player development adviser. He will work with the coaching staffs for the Blackhawks and their American Hockey League affiliate in Rockford.

The 39-year-old Kunitz had 268 goals and 351 assists in 1,022 NHL games with Anaheim, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Chicago. He also had 27 goals and 66 assists in 178 career playoff appearances.

In a statement put out by the Blackhawks, Kunitz thanked practically everyone from his playing career. He said his teammates “taught me to give my very best.”

“Your leadership helped mold me into the player I knew I could be,” he said. “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.”

The forward made his NHL debut with Anaheim in 2004 but spent most of his career as Sidney Crosby’s linemate with Pittsburgh. He was part of championship teams with the Ducks in 2007 and Penguins in 2009, 2016 and 2017.

Kunitz played for the Blackhawks last season, collecting five goals and five assists in 56 games. He skated in his 1,000th game Feb. 14 against New Jersey.

“While coaching him last year, I recognized what an asset he would be for our staff and the organization,” Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton said in a release. “I’m very pleased to have him a part of our coaching group and, also, use him as a development resource for our young players in Rockford.”

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