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Former Sabres captain Brian Gionta retires after 16 seasons

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BUFFALO, NY – MARCH 21: Brian Gionta #12 of the Buffalo Sabres during the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the KeyBank Center on March 21, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***Brian Gionta

Brian Gionta has announced his retirement from hockey.

The former Buffalo Sabres captain revealed his decision Monday afternoon in Buffalo.

Gionta plans to spend more time with his family, but will also take a small role with the Sabres.

Gionta, who is from Greece, broke into the league with New Jersey and won a Stanley Cup with the Devils in 2003.

After spending the first eight years in his pro career in the Garden State, Gionta would sign a five year contract with the Montreal Canadiens in 2009. He’d spend five seasons with the club and would became just the second American-born player to serve as captain.

Prior to the 2014-2015 season, Gionta returned home to Western New York signing a free agent contract with the Buffalo Sabres. He captained the team all three years with the Blue & Gold.

A free agent for the 2017-2018 season, Gionta played one game with his hometown Rochester Americans and scored a goal, before serving as captain for Team USA at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

When he returned, he signed to play with the Boston Bruins but would only suit up in 20 games.

In total, Gionta played in 1,026 games and scored 595 career points.

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