Daniel Briere retires, says 'at this point the family becomes a priority'

Daniel Briere, a diminutive forward whose game was always bigger than his stature, has announced his retirement from the National Hockey League.

"I've been very, very fortunate to have a chance to play with some great organizations, but at this point the family becomes a priority," he said in a statement. "The Flyers are where I played the bulk of my career. I've had a great time in Philadelphia and have been very, very fortunate to have the chance to play here."

Briere, who will turn 38 the day before the start of the 2015-16 NHL season, will meet with reporters to further discuss his decision in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The Gatineau, Quebec, native spent last season in Denver with the Colorado Avalanche for whom he played just 57 games, scoring eight goals and totaling 12 points.

Briere was traded to the Avalanche after signing a two-year deal with Montreal in the summer of 2013.

The 5-foot-9 Briere was drafted in the first round (24th overall) in 1996 by the Phoenix Coyotes, but he made his mark as a clutch producer with the Buffalo Sabres. He played for them from 2002 through 2007, helping the Sabres to back-to-back Eastern Conference finals in 2006 and 2007.

Briere signed a long-term deal with Philadelphia in the summer of 2007 and was a key member of a Flyers team that advanced to the 2008 Eastern Conference final and then the 2010 Stanley Cup finals.

He was bought out of the remainder of contract by the Flyers after the 2013 lockout-shortened season.

Briere remains one of the most prolific playoff producers of his generation, collecting 53 goals and 116 points in 124 playoff games.

He also had 696 points in 973 career regular-season games.

Briere spoke to ESPN.com in July about the decision confronting him vis-a-vis retiring or trying to play one more season. One of the key factors for Briere was being able to spend time with his three teenage boys.

The boys live with their mother, Briere's ex-wife, in the Philadelphia area, and the past couple of seasons were difficult with Briere in Montreal and then Denver.

"The kids were resilient and they hung in there," Briere told ESPN.com.

"But you come to a point where you have to think about your life, their life and who you're affecting with your decisions," Briere said. "As hockey players, you do something your whole life, and the decisions you have to make get tougher and tougher."

It's not known what plans Briere has now that his playing days are over.