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Wolves defenseman Brent Sopel announces retirement

Chicago Wolves defenseman Brent Sopel requested and received his release on Friday for the purpose of announcing his retirement.

The 38-year-old veteran appeared in 659 National Hockey League games, 211 American Hockey League games, 136 Kontinental Hockey League games and 4 International Hockey League games during an 18-season professional career that began in April 1996 with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch.

SOPEL, who earned a spot on the Wolves roster this season after receiving an invitation to try out at training camp, appeared in 29 games and contributed 1 goal, 7 assists, 46 penalty minutes and a -3 plus/minus rating. He scored his goal in his final game — a 5-2 loss to San Antonio at Allstate Arena.

“We thank Brent for his service and his professionalism this season,” said Wolves general managerWENDELL YOUNG. “He has been an excellent role model for our players. We wish him the best as he pursues other dreams in the hockey world.”

The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the sixth round of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. He spent parts of six seasons in Vancouver before earning stints with the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Thrashers, and Montreal Canadiens.

SOPEL contributed 44 goals and 174 assists in NHL regular-season play along with 4 goals and 14 assists in 71 Stanley Cup Playoff games. The highlight of his professional career came in 2009-10 when he was an integral part of the team that earned the Chicago Blackhawks’ first Stanley Cup championship since 1961.