Former Lightning D Kubina retires

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Updated: 12/20/2013 10:12 am

Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Pavel Kubina, a Stanley Cup winner with the Tampa Bay Lightning, announced his retirement from the NHL on Friday.

Kubina played 10 of his 14 NHL seasons with the Lightning, helping the franchise to the Stanley Cup championship in the spring of 2004. He also spent three seasons with Toronto, one with Atlanta and finished his career with Philadelphia after a late season trade in 2012.

"Making my way to the NHL and playing in the best league in the world for 13 seasons has been a dream come true," said Kubina in a statement released by the NHL Players Association. "I will be forever grateful for the experiences and friendships that I have gained over the course of my career, including capturing the Stanley Cup in Tampa in 2004."

In 970 games, Kubina scored 110 goals and added 276 assists for 386 points. His best season came in 2003-04 when he scored a career-high 17 goals and recorded 35 points in 81 games. He chipped in four assists in 22 playoff games that spring to help Tampa Bay win its only Stanley Cup title.

"Thank you to Phil Esposito for drafting me and giving me a chance to play for the Lightning," Kubina added. "I also would like to thank my family and friends for their support throughout my hockey journey."

Kubina was selected by the Lightning in the seventh round of the 1996 NHL Entry Draft and made his NHL debut in 1997-98, appearing in 10 games. He became a fixture on the Tampa Bay blue line for the next seven seasons before signing with Toronto as a free agent in the summer of 2006.

After three seasons with the Maple Leafs, he was traded to Atlanta and played one season for the Thrashers. The Czech native then signed again with Tampa Bay prior to the 2010-11 season and remained with the Lightning until late in the 2011-12 campaign when he was traded to Philadelphia. He played 17 games for the Flyers that season.

The 36-year-old veteran represented the Czech Republic three times in the Olympics and four times at the World Hockey Championship. He won Olympic bronze in 2006 and helped the Czechs to three world hockey titles.

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