Senators defenseman Chris Phillips announces retirement

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips is closing out his career with the only NHL team he has ever known.

Drafted first overall by the Senators in 1996, the 38-year-old Phillips announced his retirement Thursday. He had 71 goals and 217 assists in 1,179 career regular-season games, but missed this past season because of back issues.

''Nineteen years of professional hockey takes a toll on a body,'' Phillips said. ''I prided myself on playing through a lot of ailments but because of back problems that required surgery last spring that I could not fully recover from, I've made the decision along with family and doctors to retire from the game of hockey.''

Phillips has accepted a front-office position with the Senators. He will be involved in community programs, alumni relations and business development.

''Chris' trademark leadership, determination, hard work and resilience as a hockey player gave our city and our fans the opportunity to witness an impressive 19-year journey in the National Hockey League,'' team owner Eugene Melnyk said in a statement. ''Chris' commitment to our team and our city places him among one of the greatest players to don a Senators uniform. He will forever hold a special place in the history of our hockey club.

Phillips won world junior hockey gold for Canada in 1996 and 1997 and also played at the world hockey championship on three occasions, winning silver medals in 2005 and 2009. He had six goals and nine assists in in 114 career NHL playoff games.

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