Former Badger Brian Rafalski set to hang up the skates

After eleven years in the NHL, four years playing pro in Europe, and four years at the University of Wisconsin, former Badger great Brian Rafalski is set to retire. A report in The Sporting News says that Rafalski, who has spent the past four seasons with the Detroit Red Wings will make it official on Wednesday.

The 37 year old Michigan native has racked up over 500 points as a defenseman over his career between the Red Wings and New Jersey Devils including 48 in 63 games for Detroit this year. No stranger to the post season, Rafalski made the post season in every season as a professional hockey player and recorded 100 points in 165 career NHL post season games. Rafalski played in the NHL Stanley Cup Finals five times, winning the cup three times (New Jersey 2000 & 2003, Detroit 2008).

An outstanding career at the University of Wisconsin saw Rafalski named as a First Team All-American as a senior in 1995. He was also named the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year that same season. Rafalski collected 100 points at Wisconsin in 150 career games.

Rafalski was also key member of many United States squads on the international level. Rafalski represented his country in three Olympics winning two silver medals (2002  & 2010). Rafalski also donned the red white and blue at the World  Championships in 1995 and 1998, the World Junior Championships in 1992 and 1993, and the World Cup of Hockey in 2004.

According to tweets from Nick Kypreos from Sportsnet.ca injuries are the main reason behind Rafalski's decision to retire. The news is a bit surprising considering Rafalski has one year left on his contract with Detroit that was set to pay him $6 million dollars next season. Kypreos is reporting that Rafalski played through this years NHL Playoffs without an ACL in his knee.

Information from this Madison.com story contributed to this article.

chuckschwartz(at)live.com
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