Ward, 35, retired from the NHL after a 14-year run that saw him lead the franchise to its only Stanley Cup championship in 2006. He was the first rookie goalie to accomplish that feat since Patrick Roy of the Montreal Canadiens in 1986, and he became the first rookie to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP since goalie Ron Hextall of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1987.
Pen to paper.— Carolina Hurricanes (@CanesNHL) August 28, 2019
Cane for life. pic.twitter.com/dY2MsAZLP3
His legacy with the Hurricanes extends beyond that championship. Ward retires with the franchise records for career regular-season games played (668), wins (318), winning percentage (.557), shutouts (27) and saves (17,261).
He started 29 games with the Chicago Blackhawks last season after leaving the Hurricanes as a free agent and went 16-12-4 with a 3.67 goals-against average and .897 save percentage. The latter two numbers were his worst since his rookie year.
He finishes with a 2.70 GAA and .909 save percentage for his career. His 334 career wins ranks him sixth among active goalies.
After a season away from Raleigh, Ward said it was important to come back home to retire.
"It was an honor and a privilege to wear the Hurricanes jersey for 13 years," said Ward. "Throughout it all, what stayed clear to me was my love for this organization, this city and this fan base. It is why my family and I call Raleigh home, and will continue to call it home. I appreciate all of the support the fans gave me throughout the highs and the lows. I thank you."
Ward was selected 25th overall in the 2002 NHL draft by Carolina.