Roman Hamerlik Announces Retirement

20 seasons in the National Hockey League and 1,395 games later, defenseman Roman Hamerlik decided to call it a career and announced his retirement today.

He failed to land a spot on a roster this season, and spent the end of last season with the New York Rangers where he appeared in 12 regular-season games and two playoff games.

The 1992 No. 1 overall draft pick and Tampa Bay’s first ever draft pick played for seven clubs over the course of his career and he had 638 points on 155 goals and 483 assists and played in three NHL All-Star Games (1996, 1999, 2003). He never played in a Stanley Cup Final, as the closest he came was in 2010 when Montreal played in the Eastern finals.

His career high in assists and points was 1995-96 when he recorded 16 goals, 49 assists for 65 points for Tampa Bay. He would reach 16 goals one other time when he scored 16 for New York Islanders in 2000-01.

He represented the Czech Republic at the international level, where he won an Olympic gold medal in 1998.

Here is the entirety of his statement from the NHLPA.

“After much thought and consideration I have decided to end my hockey career as of today. As a kid growing up in communist Czechoslovakia, I never imagined that I would one day have the opportunity to play in the National Hockey League. It has been a great honor, and a privilege, to spend 20 seasons playing in the greatest hockey league in the world. I will always cherish the wonderful memories I have of my time spent in North America while playing the game I love, making sacrifices and pursuing my hockey dreams.

Over the course of my career I have had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people who have helped me along the way, and without whom I would not have been able to enjoy playing. For these relationships and everyone’s support, I am very grateful.

First and foremost, I would like to thank my parents who raised me and made me the man I am today. For all of their continuous support during my life and throughout my career, I am extremely grateful to them. I also cannot forget to mention my older brother Martin, the person who opened the door to my NHL dream. Martin was a big reason why I was selected first overall in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal and I am forever indebted to him for that. He has always been a role model to me and I am very proud of what he accomplished during his decorated career, a career which also recently concluded.

Furthermore, I want to thank my girlfriend Cynthia for all of the support she has given me during the last few years of my career. I certainly cannot forget all my friends, relatives and fans, three groups of people without whom we, professional athletes, could not enjoy the life and fame that we do. To each and every one of them, I say thank you for your support.

I would also like to recognize my hometown of Zlin, Czech Republic and its excellent hockey program. This is where my hockey dreams were born and where my skills were first honed. I would like to thank all of my coaches and teammates with whom I played with there as a young man. Each of you helped me to continue to develop and ultimately represent Zlin and the Czech Republic, both in the NHL, and also on the international hockey stage. With that in mind, I cannot forget the 1998 Czech Republic Olympic hockey team, under the guidance and leadership of coacan Hlinka. I am so proud to have been a part of such a memorable tournament and the incredible victory of the Czech Republic, in the tournament of the century, is something I will cherish forever.

Because I had the opportunity to play on numerous NHL teams, under many general managers and coaches, I want to express my gratitude to all of them. Especially, I would like to thank my first general manager in Tampa Bay, Phil Esposito, who selected me as the first player in Tampa Bay Lightning history, first overall in the 1992 Draft. It was Phil who gave me a chance to play in the NHL, and I value and appreciate him as a GM and a friend to this day.

Lastly, I also want to thank all of my teammates, agents, trainers, team staff and personnel, doctors and all of the others with whom I had the opportunity to meet and work with during my career. It was a great honor to play in the same league with legends such as Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Ray Bourque, Joe Sakic, Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Paul Coffey, Patrick Roy and Dominik Hasek, as well as today’s stars like Sidney Crosby, Vincent Lecavalier, Jarome Iginla, Jaromir Jagrand many more.

I am grateful for all the support given to me during my hockey career. I will always appreciate the opportunity to play in the greatest league of the world.

With a big thank you to all.”

Roman “Hammer” Hamrlik







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