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Former first round pick Martin Hanzal has retired.

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We have some sad news to announce. 

Arizona Coyotes insider Craig Morgan has just revealed that long time Coyotes centerman Martin Hanzal has officially decided to announce his retirement from the National Hockey League. Hanzal's career will come to an end with 127 goals and 211 assists, for a combined total of 338 points over 673 career games.

Although Hanzal did admit that he has been contemplating this decision for quite some time now, it does sound like it has been somewhat forced upon him due to concerns about his long term health. In a phone call with Morgan, the former Phoenix Coyotes 1st round pick (17th overall) in 2005, admitted that he had been told by doctor's that continuing to play could have long term ramifications for the native of the Czech Republic. Hanzal was considering another surgery, but it sounds like even that may have provided little to no benefit.

"It’s a little bit of a relief because the last couple of years I wasn’t sure if I’d play another NHL game or be healthy again so now it’s official: I am retired from the NHL," said Hanzal as per the Coyotes insider. "If I was healthy, I would probably still be playing, but after three back surgeries and especially after the last one, I just can’t do it anymore. I was doing everything I could after this last one and it took me a year to get back on the ice.

"When I went to see the doctor again, it was either do another surgery or be done playing. Even the doctor said, ‘We’re not sure another surgery will help.’ I still have a long life ahead of me. I don’t want to do another surgery when it’s not 100 percent sure it will even help."

I do feel a little bad for Hanzal who spent most of his career toiling away on an a Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes team that for the most part never really seriously competed for a championship. Hanzal spent 10 seasons of his pro career within that organization before briefly joining the Minnesota Wild, and even in his final season with the Dallas Stars he was largely unable to enjoy their successful run due to him being sidelined by injuries.

Injuries also took a major toll on him as he states himself when describing his 3 back surgeries and my one hope here is that he got out soon enough that he will be able to enjoy a good quality of life post-hockey. I wish him all the best on his future endeavors.