Niklas Kronwall with the Detroit Red Wings after beating the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008 Stanley Cup Finals. June 2008. (Photo Michael Righi from flickr)

Red Wings enforcer Kronwall retiring after 15 seasons (VIDEO)

A big part of the Detroit Red Wings’ success is hanging up his skates.

Defenceman Niklas Kronwall, known for his ability to set up scorers as well as deliver punishing hits on the ice, is retiring from the NHL after 15 seasons, the Red Wings confirmed Tuesday morning. The team posted a video narrated by Kronwall on its official Twitter account.

“They say every journey has to come to an end,” Kronwall opened the video by saying. “My journey as a player for the Detroit Red Wings ends here.”

Kronwall, 38, played his entire NHL career with Detroit, an organization that he had instant respect for considering its long history of having elite players and a winning tradition. According to the club, Kronwall will join its front office as a special assistant to general manager Steve Yzerman, a former teammate.

The native of Stockholm, Sweden was drafted by the Red Wings in the first round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, 29th overall. For his first three seasons, Kronwall divided his time between the Red Wings and the team’s AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffons. He played the entire 2004-05 season in Grand Rapids due to a contract impasse that forced the cancellation of the NHL season.

Throughout his NHL career, Kronwall scored 83 goals for 432 points in the regular season, plus five goals for 47 points in the NHL playoffs. He won the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008.

Kronwall was also known for his fierce style of play on the ice. The term “Kronwalled” was coined to describe the hard hits he inflicted on his opponents. That style of play resulted in 564 career NHL penalty minutes in the regular season, 89 minutes for the playoffs.

In addition to his achievements in Detroit, Kronwall won an Olympic gold medal for Sweden at the 2006 Winter Olympics at Turin, Italy, and a silver at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia. He also won a gold medal for his homeland at the 2006 World Championships.