Iafrate retires

Archived from 1998-99 season.

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Little over a month before the season starts is the slowest time of the year. Not much is going on in the world of hockey, except one more veteran has announced his retirement.

The owner of the hardest slap shot in the league, defenseman Al Iafrate, will not be returning to the rinks. At least not for now.

Iafrate, 32, calls it quits less than two months after signing a four-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes. A decision he made after his knee failed to respond to offseason rehabilitation. He hopes he will have another chance for a comeback after further knee surgery.

"We knew when we signed him that his health may prove to be a question mark, but we had hoped he could contribute to our team this season," said Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford. "This is a unique situation, however, and Al should be commended for his decision to retire before coming to camp."

By reporting to the camp Iafrate would have earned his base salary of $300,000 with incentives for games played and level of production.

Iafrate is a four-time allstar with a 105-mph slap shot whose career has been hampered by back and knee injuries which forced him to miss all of the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons.

He was originally drafted by Toronto in 1984. He spent six seasons with the Maple Leafs before being traded to Washington in 1991. He was then traded to Boston during the 1992-93 season, but only played 12 games with the Bruins before his injuries.

He played the past two seasons with San Jose, only appearing in 59 games.

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