Brenden Morrow has officially announced his retirement as a member of the organization that drafted him almost 19 years ago.
Morrow, the first-round pick of the Dallas Stars in 1997, ended his career on Thursday by signing a one-day contract so he could leave the league as a member of the Stars organization.
"To the Stars fans, I know I wasn't the most skilled player," Morrow said. "I relied a lot on grit and effort. Thanks for appreciating that. You made me feel special in a way I can never repay."
In attendance at the announcement were current Stars players Jamie Benn, Jordie Benn, Vernon Fiddler and Alex Goligoski along with former players Mike Modano, Stephane Robidas, Joe Nieuwendyk, and Guy Carbonneau (who is Morrow's father-in-law as well as former teammate).
Marty Turco was on the podium with Morrow and Stars president Jim Lites, and he shared several personal stories and anecdotes about going through their years in the organization together, from their first prospect camp on.
"It seems like yesterday we were hosting Halloween parties," Turco joked.
"We were roommates right from the get go, and he was mad when Dave Tippett took over and said, "Hey Marty, you should have your own room." He's still mad at me to this day."
Morrow, now 37, sits high on many of the Stars franchise record lists, including games played (fifth, 835), goals scored (243, seventh) and points (eighth, 528), and he was named captain of the team in 2007, which he remained until he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2013 trade deadline for Joseph Morrow and a fifth-round pick that became Matej Paulovic.
"Teams that were competing for the Stanley Cup wanted him on their team, even late in his career," Jim Lites said. "He finished his career in the Stanley Cup Final with the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team led by Steve Yzerman who wanted the final piece to get to the Stanley Cup...
"This guy is the greatest, and I have to tell you on behalf of Tom Gaglardi and our organization, we're thrilled that he and his family are back in Dallas."
He made it to the Stanley Cup Finals twice - once with the Stars in his rookie season in 2000 and last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning - but his team fell in Game 6 both times. He played most of the 2000 finals on a broken ankle suffered in the Western Conference Finals.
But it's also worth remembering he came into the league with the nickname Chunks, wearing what his hockey idol Brett Hull told him "Wasn't a real number" in 45.
What started as this:
Ended up as this:
And now can spend the majority of his time with these guys:
There's not much of a happier ending than that.