Rich Clune retires to join Leafs hockey office

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Rich Clune’s eventful career as a player has ended, but a new chapter begins in a continuing role with the Maple Leafs.

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The 35-year-old announced his retirement Thursday after 16 seasons of pro hockey, the last seven with Toronto as a brief Leaf, but mostly as captain of the farm team Marlies.

The East End native will remain as a member of the Leafs player development staff.

“Rich is in a class of his own when reflecting on the impact he has made with the Marlies,” Leafs assistant general manager Ryan Hardy said in a statement.

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“He is celebrated by all those who played and worked with him, for the professionalism he exhibited day in and day out, the contagious energy that extended from the gym to the ice and the compassion he demonstrated for his teammates and all members of this club.”

Clune’s NHL career was 139 NHL games, 19 with the Leafs, and many minor league appearances since 2007 with various organizations. Not the biggest player, he was no stranger to fighting and stints in the penalty box.

He came back from a personal battle with substance abuse before joining the Leafs, wrote about his struggles and with his screenwriter brothers, made the film ‘Hi, My Name is Dicky’”.

lhornby@postmedia.com

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