Blues defenseman Al MacInnis called it a career on Friday afternoon, retiring after 23 years in the NHL. The official word didn’t come until Friday, but it was perhaps one of the worst-kept secrets in St .Louis sports.

MacInnis suffered a season-ending eye injury three games into the 2003-2004 season. It was the last game he played. MacInnis eventually suffered a detached retina and required surgeries on both eyes.

“It has given me friends, teammates, fond memories and more rewards than any man should deserve,” MacInnis said Friday. “If not for hockey I would not have met my wife or been blessed with four beautiful kids. I cannot ask anything more from this wonderful game.”

MacInnis’ numbers are worthy of first-ballot induction into the Hall of Fame. His 1,274 points are third best among NHL defenseman all-time. He trails only Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey.

“I was kind of hoping this day wouldn’t happen, ever,” said Blues General Manager Larry Pleau said. “When you have a player like this, you never want him to retire.”

MacInnis was a seven-time All-Star and helped the Calgary Flames to the 1989 Stanley Cup.

Pleau also said that MacInnis’ jersey will be retired.