TAMPA — Former Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina announced his retirement on Friday, officially ending his 13-year career.
Kubina spent eight seasons with Tampa Bay, including the 2004 Stanley Cup championship year, after being drafted by the Lightning in the seventh round of the 1996 draft.
A 2004 NHL All-Star, Kubina was also a three-time Olympian for the Czech Republic (2002, 2006, 2010) winning a bronze medal in 2006.
The 36-year-old still resides in St. Petersburg with his wife, Andrea, and their two children, Tereza and Victoria.
He signed as a free agent with Toronto following the 2005-06 season and was traded to Atlanta for the 2009-10 season. Kubina signed a two-year contract with the Lightning, helping Tampa Bay reach the 2011 Eastern Conference final, but was dealt to Philadelphia before the trade deadline in 2012, appearing in 17 games with Flyers, his final NHL team.
Kubina released a letter upon his announcement thanking his parents, the Lightning, former Tampa Bay general manager Phil Esposito and all his former teammates. Kubina said in his retirement letter that he will always have a special place in his heart for Lightning fans, as well.
“Although I did not have the opportunity to play my final game in front of the same fans that I played my first game, which I desperately wanted to do, rest assured my heart, my skates, my No. 13 jersey and my home will always be here among you in Tampa Bay,” Kubina said in the letter.
“Your cheers and your support throughout my career gave me fond memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. This marks the end of a journey that started as a six-year-old boy in a tiny town in the Czech Republic and carried me through 970 games in the National Hockey League, many playoff games and a Stanley Cup Championship, three Olympics, and four World Championships over my 13-year NHL career.''