"I have been fortunate to have had a long career playing professional hockey for a living. I wanted to continue my career, but believe I've given all I can to the game of hockey, and I have decided that it is time to retire," Crawford said in a statement issued Saturday. "I would like to thank the New Jersey Devils organization for understanding and supporting my decision.
"I would like to thank the Chicago Blackhawks organization for giving me the chance to live my childhood dream. I am proud to have been part of winning two Stanley Cups in Chicago. Thank you to all of my teammates and coaches throughout the years. Also, thank you to the fans who make this great game what it is. I am happy and excited to move on to the next chapter of my life with my family."
The 36-year-old Crawford, who signed a two-year deal with the Devils this past offseason at an average annual value of $3.9 million, had not practiced since training camp opened last week. His absences were first described as "maintenance days" by coach Lindy Ruff, before the team said he was taking personal days on Wednesday and Thursday.
He had been the Blackhawks' starting goaltender since 2010-11 -- and helped them to two Stanley Cup championships -- but the team decided not to re-sign him this offseason.
Crawford ended his Blackhawks career ranked third in franchise history with 260 career wins, trailing only Tony Esposito and Glenn Hall. Crawford is the Blackhawks' franchise leader in postseason wins (52) and is the only goalie in team history with multiple Stanley Cups.
"Corey has an unforgettable place within our organization, in our fans' hearts and in Chicago sports history," the Blackhawks said in a statement. "We congratulate Corey on a Hall of Fame-worthy playing career -- one we celebrate with him today as a member of the Blackhawks family forevermore. 'Crow' is not only one of the greatest goaltenders in Chicago Blackhawks franchise history but was also a pillar in our local community throughout his entire career."
The Devils have 24-year-old goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood, who was re-signed to a three-year, $8.4 million contract before training camp. They also have three other goalies on their camp roster -- Scott Wedgewood (24 games of NHL experience), Gilles Senn (two games) and Evan Cormier, who hasn't played an NHL game.