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Former Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel retires

Ex-Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel announced his retirement from hockey on Friday.
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Former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel announced his retirement from hockey on Friday. 

Sopel, 38, was a key member of Chicago's Stanley Cup run in 2010. With a statement Friday, he announced the end of an 18-year career.

"I have been so lucky to play the sport I love for the last eighteen years. I fulfilled a lifelong dream of winning a Stanley Cup championship with the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks. Today's decision is not made lightly. This is the right time for my next chapter."

Sopel had not played in the NHL since 2011 with the Montreal Canadiens. He spent parts of seasons with six different teams, followed by a three-year stint in Russia's KHL. This season Sopel returned to Chicago, joining the AHL's Wolves. He looked fondly back on his time with the Blackhawks, where he made his biggest impact.

"While each professional season holds a special place in my heart, the years I spent with the Chicago Blackhawks are my fondest memories."

In 659 career games, Sopel registered 44 goals and 174 assists and a plus-32 rating.

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-Jeremy Woo