January 14, 2019 4:45 pm
Updated: January 14, 2019 4:48 pm

Former Kelowna Rockets captain turned NHL player Josh Gorges announces retirement

Watch: Josh Gorges shares his thoughts on leaving professional hockey and his unusual road to the NHL.

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Josh Gorges, who played for three NHL teams following his stint as the captain of the Kelowna Rockets, announced his retirement from professional hockey on Monday morning.

Gorges played for the San Jose Sharks, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres over 13 NHL seasons.

“Even though this is a sad day I am extremely excited about the next chapter in my life and the opportunity to be back at home with my family,” he posted to Instagram.

“There is too many people to thank on here, but those of you who helped me along the way and helped me make my dreams come true I am forever grateful.”

During his WHL career, in which he suited up in 245 games over four seasons with the Rockets, he scored 152 points and racked up 212 penalty minutes.

The organization said he helped the Rockets capture the 2003 Western Hockey League Championship and captained Kelowna to their 2004 Memorial Cup championship.

Kelowna Rockets’ assistant general manager, Lorne Frey, said the Rockets were fortunate to have had Gorges as a player.

READ MORE: Kelowna Rockets shutout by Prince George Cougars in WHL action

“We brought him in as a 16-year-old and he played forward and defence for us, we moved him back to his natural position of defence after that year. He developed from there and got better each year. He was consistent, smart and competitive. He had a great passion for the game and loved to play,” he said.

Gorges went undrafted at the NHL Entry Draft. In 2002, the San Jose Sharks signed the Kelowna product as an undrafted free agent.

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Gorges represented Canada on the international stage at the 2004 World Junior Championships in Finland where he helped Canada to a silver medal.

Following his junior career, the six-foot-one defender made the jump to the American Hockey League during the 2004-2005 season with the Sharks’ farm team.

READ MORE: Prince George Cougars shred Kelowna Rockets

He made his NHL debut with the Sharks the next season.

Gorges went on to play in 783 NHL games with stops in San Jose, Montreal and Buffalo. He had 17 goals and 107 assists as well as 404 penalty minutes.

The hockey player was an assistant captain with both the Canadiens and Sabres franchises.

“Coming to the rink knowing I got to compete with and against the best in the world is one of the greatest feelings there is. So to all the teammates I got to play with, thank you for everything along the way I will miss you the most!” he said.

He now resides in Kelowna with his wife Maggie and their two sons Noah and Jayden.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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