Capitals veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik announces retirement

Capitals veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik has retired.

The 16-year veteran, who played with the Penguins as well, told the team’s website it’s time for him to move on.

“I’ve been extremely lucky to have the best job in the world for many years, but my body is telling me it is time to move on to something new,” Orpik said. “I’m excited for more family time and to experience a lot of the things that being a professional athlete forces you to miss out on.

“Thank you to the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins for giving me the opportunity to play against the best athletes in the world. I’ll be forever grateful for the memories and relationships that hockey has given me.”

Orpik, 38, played 11 seasons with Pittsburgh and five with Washington, totaling 1,035 career games.

He won two championships, one with the Penguins in 2009 and another with the Capitals in 2018, Washington’s first in franchise history.

“On behalf of the entire Washington Capitals organization, we would like to congratulate Brooks on a terrific NHL career,” the team said in a statement. “Throughout his tenure in the league, Brooks epitomized leadership and hard work.

“He had a tremendous influence on his teammates both on and off the ice and was instrumental in helping us capture our first Stanley Cup. We thank Brooks for the impact he had across the organization and the Washington, D.C., community over the course of five seasons and wish him, his wife Erin, and daughters Harlow and Brooklyn all the best.”

Orpik scored 18 goals and added 176 assists in his career.

“Batya was a great leader in our locker room and was so important for us to win our first Stanley Cup,” teammate Alex Ovechkin said. “We will miss his presence in the room and on the ice. Not only was he a great leader and a player, but he was a better person. I’m so happy I had a chance to play with him and for our young guys to have had the chance to learn from him. I want to wish him, Erin and his kids the best. We will miss him and the Batya protein shakes.”